the early 1930’s, when Western Canada was engulfed in dust storms
and economic depression, George Edward Shnier, the oldest of twelve
children, went to work as a Customs Inspector in the border town of
Emerson, Manitoba. In 1938, George resigned from this Government job
and moved to Toronto to become the Canadian Sales Representative for
two U.S. Rubber Products manufacturers; Sponge Rubber Products Co.
of Shelton, Connecticut and Lee Tire and Rubber Co. of Conshohocken,
World War II the supply of consumer rubber goods dried up because
of military requirements. In an effort to meet the new demand, George
was instrumental in developing a “leak-proof” rubber gas
tank lining for military aircraft, which he sold to the Canadian
Government. He also set up a small assembly plant for sponge rubber
“night vision” goggles with polarized lenses, for motorcycle
1944, George’s brother Irving joined him.
Irving contributed to the building of their warehousing and
distribution business by travelling and selling consumer and industrial
rubber products to the wholesale hardware trade and department stores.
George and Irving had a younger brother
Norman, who had enlisted in the Air Force during the War. When his plane was shot down in a raid over
Germany, Norman served time in a Prisoner of War camp. After the war ended, Norman returned home with
his accumulated pay of a few thousand dollars and invested that
money in the business. About
a year later, in 1946, Norman came to Toronto and joined the business.
In 1947, the boys’ father, Moses Shnier,
was asked to open up a business in Winnipeg as a sub-agent for the
Toronto company. Moses was
joined in 1948 by the youngest Shnier brother, Allan, and together,
they operated the EAGLE DISTRIBUTING COMPANY.
that time, a Mr. Fred Daley of Sponge Rubber Products Co. developed
a means of manufacturing his sponge rubber in sheet form to be used
as undercushion for carpet. In addition to being the agent already for other Sponge Rubber Products
Co. lines, the GEORGE E. SHNIER & COMPANY LIMITED was granted
the exclusive sales rights to this new allergy-free, premium undercushion,
named Spongex Sponge Rubber Carpet Cushion.
So, at this point in history, the SHNIER Company turned the
main thrust of its attention to the floor covering business.
The brothers persuaded Mr. Daley to set
up a sponge rubber manufacturing plant in Canada in order to save
on import duties. A new
modern plant was built in Waterville, Quebec, not far from the Connecticut
plant. The GEORGE E. SHNIER & COMPANY LIMITED
developed grades and standards for Sponge Rubber Carpet Cushion
that were used throughout North America.
the early 1950’s, the company introduced the Monarch brand tufted
broadloom carpeting (today’s standard, but new at that time) into
Canada. The carpeting was
manufactured from cotton yarns, as well as from synthetics such
as nylon and viscose. Monarch
was a division of Barwick Carpets of Dalton, Georgia.
At this time, the SHNIER Company occupied
premises on several floors of a building located at 221 Richmond
Street West, in downtown Toronto.
In 1955, when the company was in need of more suitable premises
and additional staff, brother Cecil left his investment business
and photographic pursuits in Oklahoma and moved to Toronto to become
a partner in his brothers’ business.
Cecil’s first project was to coordinate the move to a modern
warehouse comprising of 30,000 sq. ft. on one floor at 1320 Jane
Street in the Toronto suburb of Weston, and to recruit some additional
the new building had been completed, Sponge Rubber Products Co.
offered the Shnier brothers the distribution rights for their foam
rubber furniture cushioning, a relatively new product which they
had perfected. Foam fabricating
facilities were set up in Toronto, Winnipeg and Montreal, forming
a new division of the GEORGE E. SHNIER & COMPANY LIMITED (and
later of GESCO INDUSTRIES INC.), that was eventually named GENERAL
FOAM AND CUSHION.
1957 was a good year for Mr. Daley, because he sold his business
to the B.F. Goodrich Co., it was also a good year for GEORGE E.
SHNIER & COMPANY LIMITED. It was in 1957 that the company began a long and mutually rewarding
relationship with the flooring division of the Armstrong Cork Co.
(later re-named Armstrong World Industries, Inc.) Distribution rights to Armstrong resilient flooring began with Ontario
and a couple of years later included Manitoba.
was a year marked by several events.
EAGLE DISTRIBUTING LTD. of Winnipeg was merged into GEORGE
E. SHNIER & COMPANY LIMITED and EAGLE’s owner, Allan Shnier became
the fifth brother to join the business partnership. Also in 1962, another brother, Philip, a professional
Engineer, joined the business partnership in Toronto. Philip’s years with the company were spent
in operations, including overseeing the building of warehouse facilities
1962 marked the only year that six brothers
were operating the business together, as later that year, tragedy
struck when George, the oldest and original founder, had a severe
heart attack and died suddenly. In
compliance with previously documented agreements, George’s widow sold
her shares to the remaining five brothers and they continued on as
equal shareholders. Until now, George had been President. Upon his passing, Irving became President.
In approximately 1965, the company acquired
the George R. Oake Co., a dry goods and flooring wholesale business
in Edmonton and Calgary, and merged it into their company. For the
next couple of years, the company distributed Domco hard surface flooring
and Coronet carpet in Western Canada.
Also, during this time frame, the company was appointed the
Distributor for Celanese Carpets, in Ontario.
In addition, it was distributing several other carpet lines
across Canada, and was not only the largest floorcovering distributor
in Canada, but it was also the fourth largest in North America.
the mid 60’s the company initiated an expansion program that resulted
in the construction of distribution centres in Regina, Saskatoon,
Calgary and Vancouver, as well as the enlargement of existing centres
in Montreal and Toronto. In
particular, the company, having outgrown its building on Jane Street.
The brothers built a new Head Office with a much larger warehouse
on Lawrence Ave. West, also in the Weston suburb of Toronto, and in
1965 moved to 1965 Lawrence Ave. West.
In 1969, in order to raise funds to finance
future growth, GEORGE E. SHNIER & COMPANY LIMITED became a public
company with approximately 20 % of the shares listed on the Toronto
Stock Exchange under the name of GESCO DISTRIBUTING LTD. (Now GESCO
INDUSTRIES INC.) GEORGE E. SHNIER & COMPANY LIMITED
became G.E. SHNIER CO., a division of GESCO.
All the funds raised from the public offering went into the
treasury of the company to be used to finance future growth.
Later in 1969, the company acquired the
assets of the Trimont group of floorcovering companies in Montreal
and increased their overall distribution rights for the Armstrong
line to include the Province of Quebec.
1970, the Winnipeg branch moved to a new facility and satellite warehouses
were opened in London and Dartmouth, while the Saskatoon depot was
closed and that trading area was serviced by the Regina branch.
In addition, that year GENERAL FOAM AND CUSHION, the furniture
products division, moved its Toronto branch out of the Lawrence Avenue
location to its own separate premises.
In 1971 the company set up a division
named CARDINAL INDUSTRIES as a parallel national distribution channel. This division sold Ceramics and allied products
as well as hardware specialty products including “Protecto” floor
runners and mats. In 1976
PHOENIX FLOOR AND WALL PRODUCTS was established, replacing the CARDINAL
The company began distributing Ozite needlepunch
floorcoverings in both roll and tile form in Toronto in 1972. In 1974, the distribution of these products
was expanded to the Ottawa region.
During the 1970’s the company expanded its distribution of
Ozite products to include all of Canada.
In 1973 Norman Shnier was appointed Chief
Executive Officer. Two new
depots were opened, Ottawa and Thunder Bay, in 1974.
Also, the company moved to larger facilities in Dartmouth and
Edmonton. The Winnipeg branch
of GENERAL FOAM AND CUSHION moved into its own separate premises. By this time G.E. SHNIER CO. had nine distribution
centres and offices.
1974 the company introduced the GESCO DISTRIBUTING LIMITED Employee
Participation Plan providing a profit sharing opportunity for its
SHNIER CO. introduced its own brand, RICHMOND CARPETS, in 1975.
This range of broadloom carpeting was and continues to be engineered
and designed by G.E. SHNIER CO. and custom manufactured for the company
by leading manufacturers in Canada and the United States affording “state of the art” machinery. The
company also inaugurated the RICHMOND CARPET CLUB, a merchandising
and automatic sampling program for independent flooring dealers.
This Program was a first of its kind in Canada and perhaps
North America. In its second year, RICHMOND CARPETS was a
leader in carpet Brand recognition in Canada.
In 1975, two of the second generation
Shniers joined the business, Cliff, Allan’s son and Bonnie, Irving’s
daughter. About that time,
Irving retired from active involvement and was appointed Chairman
of the Board. Norman was appointed President.
The EAGLE DISTRIBUTING division which
had been merged into G.E.SHNIER sometime earlier, was re-born and
took over the responsibility for distributing the Armstrong products,
Ozite carpets, and in 1979, its own brand of carpet named WESTON CARPETS. Both divisions sold flooring supplies.
Meanwhile, back at the Winnipeg branch,
Allan Shnier was working to reduce freight costs to Western Canada. It became apparent that while none of the Western
branches by themselves could generate enough volume to make up a full
carload, shipments from the various suppliers in the Montreal and
Toronto areas, for the five branches together, could make up one full
trailer load at least once every two weeks.
Once the goods arrived in Winnipeg, the goods were re-assembled
for shipment to the other western branches.
This shipping and re-assembly function was called the GO (GESCO
Operated) West Division. Eventually a similar operation, GO East was
set up in Toronto. At this
time, the GO Service owned its own fleet of trucks.
While the concept continues to this day, in 1990 this division
outsourced the ownership of the actual trucks.
a result of the success of the previously launched private brand of
RICHMOND CARPETS, in 1978
the company introduced Polystar Urethane Carpet Cushion, to complement
its Premium Sponge Rubber Carpet Cushion. Polystar was succeeded by the company’s own
brand, RICHSTEP in 1985, and subsequently RICHMOND Urethane Carpet
Cecil Shnier retired in 1978 and in 1979,
Philip’s son, Mark, was the third member of the second generation
to join the company.
From the time it moved out of its original
downtown Richmond Street premises, the company has always availed
itself not only of the most modern warehousing methods, but also of
the most automated data processing procedures.
By 1979 the company operations were put completely “on-line”, and the benefits of this new system
became apparent immediately. An
order entry system was installed permitting a customer service representative
in any branch to access the inventory in any other branch, causing
that branch’s printer to write up an order for shipment. G.E. SHNIER CO. was the first Canadian floorcovering distributor
to go “on-line”, and today continues to have a state-of-the-art floorcovering
computer system. |
As the company required more space in
1979, the Winnipeg branch of GENERAL FOAM AND CUSHION moved to larger
premises, as did the Edmonton branch of G.E. SHNIER CO.
1980, the company rescued a faltering carpet mill, and re-named it
CLAIRVILLE CARPET MILLS. CLAIRVILLE manufactured products to complement
the out-sourced RICHMOND residential and commercial product range
but had a special ability to also produce quality custom commercial
broadloom. This manufacturing operation was located in
Rexdale, about a fifteen minute drive from G.E. SHNIER CO.’s head
office location on Lawrence Avenue.
a period of three years, 1980-83, through a wholly owned subsidiary,
GESCO entered into an agreement to operate the Floorcovering Departments
in an eleven store Junior Department Store Chain in Southern Ontario.
Also during 1980, GESCO acquired an interest in UNITED FIBRE-BOND, a company which manufactured fibre products used in the mattress
and upholstery trades.
It was in 1981 that the corporate name
of GESCO DISTRIBUTING LTD. was changed to GESCO INDUSTRIES INC. (LES INDUSTRIES GESCO INC.).
In conjunction with the difficult economic
times of the early 80’s, the company sold GENERAL FOAM AND CUSHION
in 1982 to its main supplier, Woodbridge Foam Corporation, in an effort
to turn their resources more intensely to the floorcovering part of
the business. As a further cost saving measure, the EAGLE
and SHNIER divisions in Quebec were merged into one, G.E. SHNIER CO. During this period the company also sold some
of its interest in UNITED FIBRE-BOND, eventually selling it completely
In 1982, Philip Shnier was appointed President,
Norman was appointed Chairman continuing for several years until his
retirement in an active role in the day to day business, and Irving
became Honourary Chairman. Norman’s
son, Paul, joined the business in 1983.
In addition to having a sophisticated
system for internal use, the company developed a system for its customers
known as COLA (Customer On Line Access), which enables customers with
the system the ability to check stock and place orders 24 hours per
day, 7 days per week. This program was introduced during 1984.
Coinciding with this technological advancement, the company
also went on line internally with a state-of-the- art accounts receivable
In 1985 the remaining divisions of EAGLE
and SHNIER were merged under G.E. SHNIER CO. Recovering from the economic difficulties of the early 80’s, the
company consolidated by closing the branches/depots in Regina, Thunder
Bay and Edmonton and vacated the overflow space they had maintained
in the original Jane Street location in Toronto.
On the sales growth side, PHOENIX FLOOR AND WALL PRODUCTS expanded
their sales efforts beyond the Ontario market to include Quebec.
Also in 1985, CAMDEN CARPETS INC. was
established. The CAMDEN CARPETS
concept is similar to a franchise concept, offering total store merchandising
and advertising support along with various other support services,
in return for the store’s total commitment to displaying and selling
G.E. SHNIER CO. products only.
For a two and a half year period, 1985-87,
John Macdonald was Chief Executive of the company, working with the
President, Philip Shnier and other senior members of the second generation
to lead the company.
1986 saw the launch of a new and innovative
internal Quality Program which the company named QUEST. QUEST continues to exist today and stands for
QUALITY, EXCELLENCE, SERVICE, and TEAMWORK. This Program is intended to involve every single employee in the
continuous effort to operate with zero defects, with the purpose of
improving service, increasing sales and lowering costs.
the 80’s continued, the RICHMOND carpet lines continued to be sourced
to a greater degree than ever from the company’s own CLAIRVILLE CARPET
MILLS. This evolution led
to the logical move of renaming the mill to reflect this tighter dependency
on the RICHMOND product lines. In 1988 the mill was renamed RICHMOND CARPET
MILLS. However, the CLAIRVILLE
trade name continued to exist and was used for carpet manufactured
specifically for sale in the United States.
Along with the renaming of the mill, in 1989 G.E. SHNIER’s
RICHMOND commercial carpet sales force moved their headquarters from
Lawrence Avenue to the mill location in Rexdale, and was given a separate
identity as “RICHMOND COMMERCIAL”.
Until 1989, each of the senior Shnier
brothers had been Directors of the Corporation. In 1989, Irving stepped aside and his daughter, Bonnie Shnier Moncik,
was appointed to the Board. Irving
became an Honourary Director.
In 1989, G.E. SHNIER CO. acquired the
Armstrong distribution rights for the Maritimes. During the next few years, the lower to mid-priced carpet lines
previously named WESTON, underwent some expansion and name changes
,first to EAGLE in 1989, and then in 1990 to VANTAGE.
Also in 1990, the company ceased distributing the Ozite line
and opted to launch its own private label runner and seasonal carpet
programs under the names INTEGRA and SUNQUEST.
June, 1990, as Philip Shnier retired from the active involvement,
Bonnie Shnier Moncik was the first member of the second generation
to be appointed President. Philip
was appointed Vice Chairman.
The RICHMOND CARPET CLUB (RCC) introduced
a new and exciting fashion-oriented display system in 1990, followed
in 1991 with the launch of a tighter alignment program for committed
RCC dealers known as the RICHMOND FLOORSTYLE STUDIO group.
Cecil’s son, Maury, joined the company
in 1991 and each family now had a member of the second generation
working in the business.
1991 was a significant year for the Canadian
economy in general as the FST (Federal Sales Tax) component incorporated
into Canadian manufacturer’s pricing was eliminated, and replaced
with the GST (Goods and Services Tax), a tax imposed on consumers
at the retail level. This
alternate taxation method had a direct effect on the company’s sales
and profit levels as sales automatically decreased by approximately
13.5% and profits declined relating to the loss of margin on those
sales dollars. Compounding
this situation, a nation-wide economic recession was acknowledged.
Concurrently with these difficult times,
there was an unexpected steady increase of U.S. imported carpeting
into Canada. After a lengthy
investigation, Revenue Canada ruled that U.S. carpet mills had in
fact been breaking the trade rules by “dumping” products illegally
into the Canadian floorcovering market.
While the U.S. Companies appealed the ruling in 1992, it was
The company consolidated its Ontario distribution
facilities by closing its London and Ottawa warehouse depots. The Ottawa depot was replaced with a showroom
and sales office. Order entry
for those locations was consolidated into the Toronto customer service
department, with some of the French speaking Ottawa customers switching
their order entry location to the Montreal branch.
A warehouse distribution facility was opened in Dalton, Georgia.
Also during 1992, when other companies
were pulling back, G.E. SHNIER CO. designed and implemented the first
advertising campaign of its kind by floorcovering suppliers, for its
FLOORSTYLE STUDIO dealers. Millions
of home owners received RICHMOND advertising booklets several times
a year, delivered directly to their homes, with their local FLOORSTYLE
STUDIO dealer’s name on the back page.
In an effort to lower costs in 1993, while
at the same time improve service with better trained customer service
representatives, customer service order entry points were consolidated
in Western Canada, by eliminating those functions in the Vancouver
and Winnipeg branches and centralizing for the West in Calgary. As a result of a decision to restructure the company, GESCO sold
its PHOENIX FLOOR AND WALL PRODUCTS division in 1993, focusing its
entire floorcovering attention on its G.E. SHNIER CO. division. That year, the G.E. SHNIER CO. launched two
new products, RICHMOND FIBRE CUSHION and RICHMOND WINDOW WORKS, a
line of window blinds. The
company exited the window blinds business a couple of years later.
1993, Cecil stepped aside and his son, Maury, was appointed a Director
of the Corporation. Also in 1993, Allan Shnier, the youngest brother
in the first generation, retired from active involvement.
In response to the company’s strategic
decision to focus all its resources on the marketing, merchandising
and logistical functions, associated with the floorcovering industry,
GESCO sold the assets of its manufacturing facility at RICHMOND CARPET
MILLS to National Fibre-Tech, Inc. on March 7, 1994.
GESCO kept the rights to the RICHMOND brand name.
was a significant year, technologically, as intense efforts were dedicated
to the preparation of the organization for the conversion of the company’s
computer system from its Bull (originally Honeywell) main frame environment
with its own internally programmed software, to the new comprehensive
Dancik software program designed specifically for floorcovering distributors,
operating on IBM AS/400 hardware.
The company actually converted systems on October 1, 1995,
the first day of the company’s 1996 fiscal year.
At this same time, Armstrong granted to
the G.E. SHNIER CO. sole distribution rights to its products in the
Maritimes, making this the first region in Canada to have the historic
dual distribution situation eliminated.
Also in 1995, Perstorp, a Swedish manufacturer
of laminate flooring, named Pergo, granted exclusive national distribution
rights to its products to be launched during the 1996 fiscal year.
This flooring category was virtually new to Canada, having
been sold in the United States for a couple of years.
There was a major sales force reorganization
in 1995 as the sales management and representatives were divided by
product with one group carrying only the Armstrong product line and
the other group carrying all other products.
Other 1996 marketing introductions included
the RICHMOND DECOR CARD consumer
credit card, specifically for RICHMOND FLOORSTYLE STUDIO members,
and the introduction of RICHMOND area rugs.
During 1996 exclusive national distribution rights were acquired
for the Anderson Hardwood flooring line and for independent carpet
retailers, the Images Hardwood line.
While these lines were launched simultaneously during 1997,
the company worked on the development of its CASA ROMA ceramics program,
preparing for its launch in 1998.
June, 1997, Bonnie Shnier Moncik chose to relinquish her position
as President and was appointed Vice Chairman, maintaining an active
full time role in the business. Edward duDomaine joined the company at that time as President and
Chief Executive Officer.
Throughout the winter months of 1998,
the company’s alignment programs for independent dealers, the RICHMOND
CARPET CLUB and the RICHMOND FLOORSTYLE STUDIO programs, were updated,
modernized and launched under the new name, the FloorsFirst, by RICHMOND.
This new name with changes to the program, better reflected
the G.E. SHNIER CO.’s expanded floorcovering product range, as well
as its newly defined role as a total FloorsFirst company.
In the summer of 1998, Armstrong World
Corporation, one of G.E. SHNIER CO.’s key suppliers completed their
North American plan to grant exclusive distribution rights to their
products in each region. Up
to that date, G.E. SHNIER had dual distribution rights in Alberta,
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec, and sole rights in Nova
Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Armstrong made the decision to reduce their distributors in
Canada from three to two, and granted the G.E. SHNIER CO. exclusive
rights to their products in the Eastern Canadian Provinces of Ontario,
Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. While the rights to the three Western Provinces
were withdrawn from G.E. SHNIER CO., the company netted ahead in sales
with this new arrangement, so this was a corporate win for the company.
1999 the Company invested in a new IBM AS400, reconfigured iCOLA
(Customer On Line Access) for full use on the internet, and launched a
new business to business site, and consumer website. In addition to
this, the Company consolidated its customer service departments from
various regional branches across the country into two centralized
customer service centers, one in Toronto and one in Montreal.
March, 1999, Armstrong World Industries added its DLW linoleum line and
its new laminate program to the Company exclusively for eastern Canada
( Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes). An additional proprietary ceramic
line under the San Marco brand was introduced later that year.
Industries awarded G.E. SHNIER CO. exclusive rights to market and sell
their carpet, runner, rug and accessory programs nationwide. This
program was launched in April, 2000. Also during 2000, the Company
launched a comprehensive Integrated Digital Marketing initiative which
included offering Internet web site design services to our retailers.
That year the Company secured exclusive national distribution rights
for the Marazzi Tecnica line of commercial ceramic products.
other very significant events occurred in 2000. Firstly, after 35 years
in the Lawrence Avenue location in Toronto, the Company moved its Head
Office to a brand new, state-of-the-art 255,000 square foot logistics
centre at 50 Kenview Blvd. in Brampton, Ontario, located near Finch
Avenue and Hwy 427 not far from Toronto’s Pearson Airport. This custom
designed building was complete with 35,000 square feet of office space,
several meeting and conference rooms, an on-site installation school, a
beautiful and modern showroom, and well designed pick up and delivery
areas supported by 38 shipping and receiving doors.
as stated much earlier, in 1969 GESCO INDUSTRIES INC. was formed to be
the Holding Company operating G.E. SHNIER CO., with the purpose of
taking the Company public. After 31 years as a Public Company trading
on the Toronto Stock Exchange, in March 2000, the Shnier Family
proceeded with the privatization of the Company, purchasing all
outstanding shares held by the Public. The original purpose for going
public no longer was relevant, and alternative preferred financing
sources had, for a long time, been more readily available. Many of the
benefits of being a Public Company became outweighed by the costs and
regulatory constraints imposed on closely-held Public Companies.
was significant for our dealer alignment program as we re-launched our
previous Floorcovering Solutions Alliance program under the new
FloorsFirst banner. In the Spring of 2001 we held our inaugural
FloorsFirst Summits, one in Toronto and one in Calgary. These
Conventions were designed to provide our most aligned customers with
formal opportunities to have input into the future development of our
program as well as for some industry education.
Company expanded the services of our installer training school this
year to include training for Armstrong vinyl products and introduced a
Pergo “Master Installer” program.
2001 GESCO purchased a majority of the shares of Super Choice Warehouse
and Distributors Limited, which conducted business as “The Mat Kings”,
with the intent of utilized product and customer synergies to grow both
G.E.SHNIER CO. and The Mat Kings.
March 2002, Clifford Shnier left the employment of the Company.
Clifford remained as a Director of the Corporation for the following
In the Spring of 2002 the Company hosted its second FloorsFirst Summit, this time making it one National event in Toronto.
during 2002 the Company introduced “QuickBase” to improve internal
information communications and efficiencies. QuickBase, along with
enhancements to iCOLA, our internet based customer on line access
system, vastly improved our business to business information
5 Logistics Inc., a new operating division, was created in 2002, to
leverage our logistics expertise and utilize our professional Kenview
facility and resources.
Company introduced a new private label LAURENTIAN hardwood line in the
latter part of 2002, closely followed by the introduction of a
complimentary private label LAURENTIAN laminate line in 2003.
The EAGLE Division introduced CGC’s Fiberock underlayment throughout Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces.
In 2003, the Company hosted its third annual national FloorsFirst Summit in Toronto, with increased attendance.
2003, the Company began to develop its recently introduced Integrated
Warehouse Management System, working toward a more automated warehouse.
2003, witnessed a change in the shareholdings of the GESCO INDUSTRIES
INC., as the Irving, Cecil, Norman and Philip Shnier families
reconfirmed their commitment to the Company by purchasing the shares of
GESCO previously owned by the Allan Shnier family. This led to a change
in the Board of Directors as Clifford resigned and the Board of
Directors continued to be comprised of the other incumbents, Philip
Shnier, Bonnie Shnier Moncik, Paul Shnier and Maury Shnier.
new flooring category, Wicanders Cork, was introduced by the Company in
2004. As well, a new merchandising Tango display system and SHNIER
SHOWROOM ADVANTAGE (SSA) merchandising program were introduced to our
retailers as we upgraded and modernized our dealers’ showrooms while at
the same time increasing our real estate space with dealers.
2004 the Company was appointed the exclusive Canadian distributor for
Edge Flooring, a brand new category to the flooring industry. This
category was a totally new flooring system, composed of a ceramic tile
veneer affixed to a laminate backing, which was designed to ease and
reduce the time it took to install a ceramic floor.
sample fabrication department was initiated in our Brampton facility
during 2004, in order to more immediately and more effectively meet
some of the more urgent sampling requirements of our customers.
Company held its fourth annual national FloorsFirst Summit in Toronto
in the spring of 2004, once again with an increased attendance.
2004 the Company continued to develop its Integrated Warehouse
Management System at its Brampton head office location to the point of
having this warehouse operational with wireless Radio Frequency (RF)
In March, 2005, the Company sold its investment in The Mat King.
In the spring of 2005 the Company hosted a successful fifth annual national FloorsFirst Summit in Toronto.
2005, keeping step with the global sourcing trends, we expanded our
sourcing of Hardwood to Europe, Asia and South America and our sourcing
of Ceramics in Europe and Asia.
June, 2005, sparked by strong growth of our sales in the BC market and
increased sourcing from the far east, the Company moved into a larger
facility in Vancouver which had double the warehouse space and twice
the number of shipping doors
2005 we forged a strategic alliance with J&J Industries of Dalton
Georgia, one of North America’s leading Commercial Carpet Mills. Our
Company obtained exclusive rights to all J & J product sales made
within Canada. The J & J company mirrors our own culture and
composition, also being Family owned and Directed. This alliance has
allowed us the opportunity to increase our foothold into the commercial
were very honoured when one of our National Accounts awarded us
Supplier of the Year, for 2005, based on their increased level of
purchases from us, and the quality of our service, both internal and
2005 we continued to increase the professionalism within our company,
with increasing emphasis on more professional sales growth planning
processes in many areas of our business such as customer profiling,
account planning, brand planning and channel planning.
March, 2003, the IRVING SHNIER, NORMAN SHNIER, CECIL SHNIER AND PHILIP
SHNIER FAMILIES purchased the shares of the ALLAN SHNIER FAMILY.
remaining four first generation Shnier brothers are all retired from
active involvement in the daily affairs of G.E. SHNIER CO.
All four brothers have been appointed Honourary Directors: The other
three of the first generation family are Honourary Directors:
Irving Shnier, Honourary Chairman
Norman Shnier, Chairman Emeritus
George Edward Shnier,
was the original founder, President from 1938 until his untimely death
second to join the business in 1944, and was President from 1962 until
his retirement at the age of 65, in 1975, at which he continued on
as a Director and Chairman of the Board.
In 1983 he relinquished his Chairman position and Norman was
appointed Chairman. Irving
remained a Director until 1989, at which time he stepped down from
the Board and his daughter Bonnie Shnier Moncik was elected as a Director.
He has continued as an Honourary Director and Honourary Chairman.
in 1946, was the third brother to join the business. Norman became Chief Executive Officer in 1973 and was President
from 1976 until 1983, at which time he assumed the Chairman title,
remaining active in the business.
When he retired in 1985, he continued as a Director and Chairman
of the Board until June 2000, at which time he stepped down from the
board and his son Paul Shnier was elected as a Director. Norman has
continued as an Honourary Director and Chairman Emeritus.
in 1955, was the fourth brother to join the business. Cecil retired in 1979, remained a Director until 1993, and his son
Maury Shnier was elected a Directorship that year. He has continued
as an Honourary Director.
, also in 1962, joined the business as the sixth brother. Philip
was appointed President in 1983 and retired in 1990, becoming Vice
Chairman. In June 2005, Philip stepped down from the Board and
his son Mark was elected as a Director. He has continued as a Honourary
| There are currently three members of the second generation Shniers
employed at G.E.SHNIER CO.
Bonnie Shnier Moncik,
Irving's daughter, joined the Company in 1975. Bonnie holds a Bachelor
of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and has the designation
of Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP). She began her career
at GESCO as the Personnel Assistant at the previous division of GENERAL
FOAM AND CUSHION and over the next few years broadened her scope to
become the Assistant to the General Manager there. In 1982, she was
transferred to the flooring division and was promoted to the National
position of Human Resources Manager for GESCO and G.E.SHNIER CO. In
1988, Bonnie was appointed Vice President, GESCO INDUSTRIES INC.,
maintaining her title National Human Resources Manager. In 1989, Irving
resigned from, and Bonnie was elected to, the Board of Directors of
GESCO INDUSTRIES INC. Later that year, Bonnie was appointed Executive
Vice President, GESCO INDUSTRIES. In June, 1990, Bonnie was the first
of the second generation to be appointed President, GESCO INDUSTRIES
INC. In April, 1997, Bonnie chose to relinquish her role as President
of the Corporation and was appointed Vice Chairman, GESCO INDUSTRIES
INC., maintaining a full time active role, with responsibilities
covering Human Resources, Corporate Relationships and Corporate
Development. In June, 2000, Bonnie was appointed Chairman of the
Corporation, continuing her active role in the Company. In March, 2006
the overall responsibility for the Human Resources Department was fully
transitioned to Ed duDomaine, the President and C.E.O. Bonnie continues
her active role in the Company, focusing on specific projects and Long
Term Strategic Planning.
Philip's son, joined the Company in 1979 as Inventory Manager. Mark
holds an Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Toronto
as well as a Masters of Business Administration from York University.
In 1984, he was promoted to the National position of Controller. In
1987, Mark was appointed Vice President Finance and Administration,
GESCO INDUSTRIES INC. In the summer of 1993 Mark moved to the RICHMOND
CARPET MILLS manufacturing division as General Manager. When it was
sold in March of 1994, he returned to the G.E.SHNIER CO. division as
Vice President, Customer Service and Logistics, with additional
responsibility for the Information Systems. In June, 2005, Mark
relinquished his responsibility for Customer Service and Logistics,
maintained responsibility for the Information Systems and Inventory
Management Departments, and was appointed Vice President, Strategic
Process Development. Also in June, 2005, Philip resigned from, and Mark
was elected to, the Board of Directors of GESCO INDUSTRIES INC.
, Norman's son, joined the Company in 1983, beginning his career at
CLAIRVILLE CARPET MILLS (later named RICHMOND CARPET MILLS). Paul has
an Industrial Engineering Certificate from Ryerson . After a year and a
half as a Lab Technician at CLAIRVILLE, Paul spent a year and a half as
a G.E. SHNIER CO. customer service representative, moving back to the
manufacturing division in 1986 as Product Development and Systems
Manager. In 1989, Paul moved into Sales and became a Commercial
Flooring Sales Representative for the RICHMOND COMMERCIAL division. In
1992, Paul once again returned to manufacturing in the role of Manager,
Quality and Customer Service. When the Mill was sold in the spring of
1994, Paul joined the distribution division as an Ontario Contract
Sales Specialist. In 1995 Paul assumed the additional role as National
Product Manager for Flooring Accessories. Responsibilities for
marketing the COLA (Customer On Line Access) Program were added in
1997, while at about the same time, Paul relinquished his Contract
Sales duties. From 1998 to March, 2006, Paul served as the Product
Manager for Seasonal Products. In June, 2000, Norman resigned from, and
Paul was elected to, the Board of Directors of GESCO INDUSTRIES INC,
taking on the responsibility of Corporate Secretary. In 2001, Paul
assumed the additional responsibility for Internal Audit.
, Cecil Shnier’s son, joined the Company in 1991. He served the
organization in various sales and marketing positions until April,
2005, when he chose to leave the employment of the Company to pursue
other interests. In 1993, Cecil resigned from, and Maury was elected
to, the Board of Directors of GESCO INDUSTRIES INC. Maury continues to
serve on the Board.
June, 2005, the Board of Directors for GESCO INDUSTRIES INC. has been
Bonnie Shnier Moncik, Maury Shnier, Paul Shnier and Mark Shnier.