VANCOUVER, Oct. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - The recent Retail West conference in Vancouver announced plans for the official merger between Shelfspace and Retail Council of Canada. The new entity, which will be called MySTORE, will launch in January 2013.
"Last week's conference provided independent merchants in B.C. and across Canada with a 'real retail voice' as well as retail-focused tools to assist small retail businesses to prosper in an ever-increasingly competitive environment," said Diane J. Brisebois, president and CEO of RCC. "And this will be the exact focus of MySTORE."
Brisebois added that the conference was a testimony to the need for retailers of all sizes to come together to discuss challenges and opportunities in retail, with a focus on sharing learnings with independent merchants who often don't have the tools or time to spare to keep up with new trends or operational changes.
"MySTORE will provide the resources - in both human capital and talent -- required to address the specific needs and concerns of smaller retailers," said Brisebois.
"I am excited about the merger which is creating MySTORE," said Misti Mussatto, Co-founder, Toy Jungle Enterprises. "Small independent retailers need tools, research and representation to thrive. MySTORE will build on the Shelfspace tradition of providing these benefits by improving and creating greater accessibility to them."
The B.C. office of MySTORE will be fully staffed to focus on both B.C. retail issues and issues affecting small retailers across Canada. Mark Startup, former head of Shelfspace, has been appointed the Vice President in charge of all matters affecting independent retailers across Canada. He will be supported by a team of dedicated RCC employees located across Canada.
"RCC has and continues to be the only retail voice for small, mid- and large-sized retailers in Canada," said Brisebois. "Our understanding of challenges facing our independent retailers resulted in RCC being the first association out of the gate with the powerful 'Stop Sticking It To Us' campaign, which brought the issue of ever-increasing credit card merchant fees to the forefront."
RCC built a coalition of more than 15 associations across Canada representing more than 250,000 retail businesses (mostly independent retailers) to assist in bringing this matter to Ottawa. Thanks to this campaign and the support of independent members (as well as the entire retail community), RCC was successful in calling for House of Commons and Senate hearings on the matter and was instrumental in ensuring that a low cost debit service continued to be offered to merchants and to consumers.
RCC recently demonstrated its ongoing commitment to small retailers with a battle to delay the elimination of the penny so that our merchants would not have to deal with the change during the Holiday season. This is a critical season for all merchants, but especially so for small retail businesses.
"In Manitoba, RCC was the only retail association that fought to ensure that small merchants were protected under the law in regards to store hours," added Brisebois. "While governments try to respond to consumer demand and adapt legislation to reflect changing lifestyles, small merchants face extended hours of operations and are often at the mercy of mall operators."
She noted that when Manitoba legislation was being changed to expand store hours on Sundays, RCC went to bat and successfully ensured that small merchants with leases in shopping centres could chose to close on Sunday or only operate during limited hours without retribution or the fear of being fined by mall operators.
No association other than RCC spoke out for small retailers regarding price differences in Canada and cross-border shopping issues - which in fact have a devastating impact on small retailers in border communities, including B.C.
"It is strange that no other business association purporting to speak for small retailers lobbied aggressively to ensure that consumers understood why price differences existed in Canada and why merchants in Canada were not competing on a level playing field. But RCC did and will continue to do so," said Brisebois.
"The sole focus for RCC and MySTORE is the retail community."
SOURCE: Retail Council of Canada
For further information:
VP Communications and Marketing, RCC
416 922-0553 ext. 228
416 574-2552 (Mobile)