Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Saturday, October 2, 2010
A New Owner For TruServ
Truserv head office and warehouse at Gamble and McGillivray.
I was a bit concerned and still am about the announcement of Ronabuying the TruServ of Winnipeg this week. The company flies under the radar as the main supplier for True Value, V&S and Country Depot stores.
Back in the 1990s, the forerunner to TruServ, Macleod-Stedman ran into a downturn that saw its employment drop from a few hundred to a skeleton crew. There was great debate in the Manitoba Legislature with the NDP's Gary Doer questioning the Progressive Conservative Premier Gary Filmon about the merits of the bail-out plan.
Cotter Canada took over the company with help of the government in 1992 and in 1999, the name was changed to TruServ. In 2001, the company became a 100% Canadian member-owned distribution center after decades of American ownership. In 2006, the company changed to a share structure which set up this purchase by Rona today.
Presently, the company has about 350 employees and runs a fairly streamlined head office. It is an important employer for the city and if nothing else, has shown the wisdom in backing the company in the 1990s.
I have no idea how Rona benefits from owning the company or whether they keep the management team based in Winnipeg.
A smart provincial government should be asking the company what they need to expand for both Truserv and Rona in Manitoba.