Business Supporting Company Profiles
Business Supporting Company Profiles document sample
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FP12 S P E C I A L F E AT U R E T O T H E N AT I O N A L P O S T NATIONAL POST, MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2008 ENTREPRENEUR N O M I N AT E D BY R OY N AT C A P I TA L At an age when many young men are considering their career options, Brent Trepel was taking the reins of the company business. More than two decades later, Ben Moss Jewellers now has retail stores across Canada and growing each year. W hen Brent Trepel was 23, a family tragedy pro- pelled him into what for most young men would be the challenge of a life- time. His father, who headed the family- owned, Winnipeg-based Ben Moss Jewel- lers since taking over from Brent’s mater- nal grandfather in the late 1950s, suffered a series of heart-related illnesses. To ensure the chain of jewellery stores’ future, his father decided to look outside the family for a successor. “I went to him and asked that he give me a chance to run the company,” Mr.. Trepel says. Armed with a business degree from the University of Western Ontario and with experience in sales in the com- pany’s Alberta stores and in merchandis- ing at head office, young Mr. Trepel had a clear vision of what Ben Moss Jewellers could become. “The upshot is that he said yes. I knew going in that my father had taken a great risk, but he always said he had full confi- dence in me and never regretted his deci- sion for a moment.” Time has proved Mr. Trepel senior was right. Over the past 22 years, Brent Trepel has turned an 18-store, regional jewellery chain in the Prairies into a national re- tailing force, with 58 stores from Victoria to Halifax. The 1,000-square-foot outlets share a singular distinction in the intensely competitive retail jewellery trade. Mr. Trepel says they average $1,500 a sq. ft. in sales, an astonishing figure considering what they sell is gold, silver and diamond jewellery aimed at mid-market, youthful consumers. “Our focus has always been on con- tinuous operational improvements,” he says. “Year after year, we have not only been able to grow revenues by 15% a year but improve our margins as well. “I have great confidence that will con- tinue to be the case going forward.” What will also be the case is that Ben Moss Jewellers will continue to grow. All the company stores are situated in shopping malls, and most of them are in smaller centres or in the suburban areas of major cities. Each year, the company adds between two and four new outlets to the Ben Moss chain. Its next growth target will be Ontario. “We have 17 stores there now but Ontario will be the focus of our next push,” Mr. Trepel says. “We want maybe 20 more new stores in Ontario over the next five to 10 years.” The company also intends to expand its Web presence, he says, making a selec- Brent Trepel is proud of his company’s reputation within the retail industry as a sought-after place to work. tion of diamond rings (Ben Moss is the country’s largest retailer of Canadian dia- ations trim has been a hallmark of Mr. “That worked so well we added Prince monds) and jewellery available to anyone Trepel’s presidency since he took control George, Victoria and then Burnaby on with access to its Web site. of the company. the fringes of the Vancouver market,” BEN MOSS JEWELLERS “What we are doing is creating a “The first five years I was in charge, Mr. Trepel says. Then came Ontario. The national Ben Moss brand,” he says. “Can- was devoted to the financial health of first store there was in Belleville. Atlantic Head office Winnipeg adians are increasingly mobile, and we the business,” he says. “A recession in the Canada followed. Business sector Retail jewellery can take advantage of that trend. They west meant we had to retrench, put our One thing Mr. Trepel is enormously stores know us from their home town and when house in order and even shut down some proud of is his company’s reputation as Market Canada they move, they will find us in their new stores. a terrific place to work. Staff turnover is locale.” “By 1991, however, we were in wonder- remarkably low for the retail industry, he Number of Employees 600 In an industry still dominated by ful shape. We had cash in hand, were well says. Web site www.benmoss.com mom-and-pop, local or regional oper- organized and enjoyed healthy margins. “In Alberta, where many employers ations, Ben Moss has the advantages Then, frankly, we got lucky.” have a tough time finding staff, we have and the synergy that a national chain That luck came in the form of the rarely had to run an ad to fill positions in can bring to an intensely competitive bankruptcy of Canada’s two largest jewel- our 15 stores, he says. “When we opened market. lery chains — Peoples and Birks. As they in Halifax we were quickly able to staff Mr. Trepel points out that the size slid into receivership, there was suddenly the store with people already working for of the chain and its long history with room for a national mid-market jewelry other jewellers, and it was all by word of major shopping centre developers makes chain. There were also a small army of mouth.” Roynat Capital lends to and invests it a sought-after tenant when new shop- shopping centre owners keen to have Ben It comes down to applying the same in growing companies such as this ping centres are opened or old ones Moss replace them as tenants. policy of friendly, efficient service to one. To read more Entrepreneur are refurbished and reformatted. That “They began knocking on our door, customers to staff as well, he says. profiles or to nominate your company size and track record can also be a plus offering some very attractive deals and “This is a company where everybody to be featured, please visit: when it comes to negotiating leases. incentives for us to take over their Peoples feels comfortable in calling me by my first At the same time, Mr. Trepel has a and Birks stores,” he says. name,” he says. www.roynat.com/services sharp pencil when it comes to controlling The first move out of the Prairies was “I think that says a lot about our cul- costs. That keen eye for keeping oper- into Kelowna in 1993. ture and our values.” F I N A N C I N G YOUR BUS I N E S S G ROWTH Growing the business Supporting the growth Realizing on value Capital Expansion Re-engineering Exit Strategies PATIENCE Investing in Potential As business partners we use term debt, subordinated debt, mezzanine ﬁnancing and equity to customize a ﬁnancial solution appropriate for the unique growth Term Loans Subordinated Debt Mezzanine and Equity needs of your business. $500,000 - $50 million $500,000 - $10 million $500,000 and up Since 1962, our patient capital has increased the value of businesses and wealth of entrepreneurs. Visit www.roynat.com to uncover your growth potential. Roynat Capital is a member of the Scotiabank group of companies. TM is used under license and control of The Bank of Nova Scotia.