Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Looking Back

December 4, 2017

Copel was an organization that united 16 of Canada’s leading electrical distributors. It was during the 1969 convention of CEDA that E. Mullaly of Saint John and Jeannine Guillevin Wood of Montreal first discussed the idea of forming an organization of independent distributors. Other discussions were held and a meeting in August 1969 brought together a group of independent electrical distributors from across Canada to form a consortium that would enable them to combine resources, experience and purchasing volume to compete more effectively with national distributors.

In its time, Copel was the largest organization of its kind. Copel provided a broad range of services to its shareholders, including

  • supplier programs; purchasing agreements
  • financial services
  • national sales agreements
  • regular contact with large, multi-location industries
  • marketing
  • sales management training
  • other services to assist shareholders in serving their customers more efficiently and effectively

For its shareholders, and for the manufacturers associated with Copel, the organization provided a valuable forum for the exchange of ideas. Through its national network of independent distributors and their 130 branches across Canada, the organization offered manufacturers of electrical products an important national link to end users. As the largest organization of its kind in Canada, Copel was dedicated to provide service at competitive prices.

All shareholders carried a complete range of products representing leading manufacturers, and were constantly augmenting them to meet the changing requirements of the marketplace; increasingly the emphasis was on electronic products.

Copel’s long-term relationships with its many suppliers reflected mutual stability, reliability and trust. mm

The shareholders of Copel were

  • A&I Supply Ltd.
  • R.E. Electric, a division of Chester Industrial Tool Supply Ltd.
  • Daigneault Industriel Inc.
  • Economy Electric Supply Limited
  • Electrozad Supply Co. Ltd.
  • Electrozad Supply Company (Waterloo) Ltd.
  • Gerrie Electric Wholesale Limited
  • Gescan, a division of Chester Industrial Tool Supply Ltd.
  • Gescan, a division of Guillevin International Inc.
  • Guillevin International Inc.
  • Heap Nosworthy Ltd.
  • B. Horsman & Son Ltd.
  • Ideal Supply Company Limited
  • Independent Electric Co. Ltd.
  • Ward Johnson Electric Ltd.
  • C. Keddy Ltd; Lumen Inc.
  • McDowell Electric Ltd.

Each company was represented on the Copel Board of Directors. The needs of the organization were served by a permanent staff of six located in Montreal, and headed by Copel president Richard Taylor.

Since its founding, Copel grew and prospered; growth came through shareholder expansion and the acquisition of other distributors, but the emphasis was always on internal growth and there are no territorial restrictions.

Copel had the resources and people, inventory and services to meet every requirement. The Copel philosophy of people working together proved successful; for several years Copel outperformed the electrical wholesale industry. Participating shareholders, ranging in size from family-owned, single location, companies to firms with branches throughout several provinces, shared a commitment to professionalism.

In 1992, Copel merged with Affiliated Distributors (AD), which marked AD’s introduction to the Canadian market. Twenty years later (2012), AD merged with Independent Electrical Distributors (IED), doubling AD’s Canadian sales.

David Gordon

Over the past few months as we’ve sat in strategy development meetings with distributors, reviewed distributor purchasing information, and talked to manufacturers’ reps and contractors, we’ve seen a purchasing trend that is roiling the industry. The trend, which mirrors what is happening in lighting with “unfamiliar brands,” is accelerated growth and acceptance of less familiar brands for infrastructure type products (electrician supplies, boxes, fittings, etc … consumables and products that go within the wall). This then begs the questions, “What is the value of a manufacturer’s brand,” and “What are the implications for manufacturers and distributors?”

Many have seen this as driven by...

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Study


A confirmation: the winds of change are now howling.

Several years ago, in a workshop at Electro-Federation Canada’s annual conference, a roundtable session described and debated the numerous disruptive technologies that are forcing us to think differently.

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As part a family company, I have heard my father talking about business ever since I was a little boy. Although it had always interested me, I had never thought I would end up working alongside my father and my uncle in the company my grandfather started a long time ago.

I had been working in sales ever since I was 16 years old in many different markets than the one I was about to enter, but I thought it would be relatively easy to handle. Very quickly I started noticing the challenges of being a 22-year-old sales rep for electrical products entering a world where most of the manufacturers’ agents had been in the business for a long time.

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Changing Scene

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Electro-Federation Canada’s 6th Annual Future Forum, Thinking Smarter — Channel Products, Energy, ...
In partnership with Habitat for Humanity Québec, Convectair is donating two heating units ...
Do you know an industry member who has greatly contributed to the Canadian electrical industry and ...
Kendra Smith will be joining the company’s Nationals Accounts team as the Key Accounts ...
Blueway has been added as a division within Sonepar Ontario, reporting directly to Sonepar Ontario ...
Pilz Canada has added Marcus Graham to its family. Marcus is now serving a wide base of customers ...
Christopher Balleine has been appointed Stelpro’s Sales Representative, Maritimes, ...
Based in Ottawa, Lafontaine will be responsible for building on Schneider Electric’s ...
Bill Smith from Electrozad Supply Company Limited has been selected as this year’s recipient ...

Peers & Profiles

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Sales of electrical supplies from full-line electrical distributors capture the geographic ...
I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part of the ...
  Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & ...
Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished ...
Gordon MacDonald is a cheerful, driven individual who loves to be challenged, a trait that suits ...
  Jordan Prins is an account manager at Wesco Distribution in Abbotsford, British Columbia. ...
Mike Marsh, President and CEO of SaskPower, has been a leading figure in Saskatchewan’s electricity ...
I didn’t wake up one day and go, “I want to work for my dad!” Actually, it was ...
    Ouellet Canada is celebrating 50 years in the Electrical Heating ...
  On February 27th Lumen opened their 36th branch in Ottawa, Ontario. ...

Laura Dempsey

Owen Hurst

Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for over 15 years, and is a member of the BCEA U40 network of young professionals. She lives in Langley, BC and is proud of her position and work with E.B. Horsman, particularly as she is the second Dempsey generation to work for the company.

Laura’s mother Shelly has worked at E.B. Horsman for over 25 years, and instilled in Laura a determination to succeed. Laura followed in her mother’s footsteps after witnessing how much her mother enjoyed her work and the people she works with at E.B. Horsman.

Read more: Laura Dempsey

Laura Dempsey

Line Goyette

I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part of the newsletter’s Editorial Board. His contribution was regular and sustained. Always present to answer my technical questions, and refer me to the right person for additional information as needed. Always available despite his role as senior leader of an influential company.

Over the past five years, many industry insiders have cited John Sencich when I asked them to name someone who had made a difference in their lives or had inspired them as a leader.

Read more: John Sencich

Looking Back

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Electrical distribution companies operating in British Columbia will continue to get larger while ...
Golden anniversaries are celebrated by the mature, and our industry is allowed to celebrate ...
The last 50 years have been exciting ones for the electrical industry but they won’t compare to ...
The ceiling that had been placed on membership fees remained a point of contention among ...
The year 1982 started on a relatively good note for electrical distributors. Sales in the first ...

 

Online

Building a simple customer experience that satisfies your customers’ expectations is a starting point (or evolution) in your digital journey. You might be asking yourself, “How do I know what my customer wants?” The data are available from their behaviour online, and many of your customers will tell you what they want. Putting the pieces together can appear complex, but it can be simplified if you segment the optimization of your customers’ experience into three buckets: design, usability and search.

Design, usability, and search pertain to how you can serve your customer. In order for your website to create value in the eyes of the customers, you have to optimize your website so that it is accessible to the greatest number of your ideal customers. Value increases with the number of customer touchpoints that the customers use.

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EFC 2018 Scholarship Program

This year Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) will award $156,250 across 62 scholarships supported by manufacturers, distributors and associations.

The annual EFC Scholarship Program reflects an industry that understands its responsibility to attract future talent. In the face of technological, demographic, and socio-economic evolution, the employment landscape is in constant transformation resulting in substantial challenges for companies as they work to define and redefine their recruitment practices. Furthermore, as competition for the brightest and the best of the next generation of business leaders intensifies, it’s more important than ever to engage young people. 

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Copper $US Dollar price per pound

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