One nice thing about our industry is that we get to sell and promote products that are made in Canada. In fact, almost 80% of what Friendly Fires sells and installs is made in Canada. In our industry, Canadian-made product is simply better quality and often comes with superior after-sales support. Some of the best fireplace & BBQ manufacturers in the world are Canadian – we lead in this manufacturing category.
However, there is one troubling trend. It seems that as Canadian manufacturers grow they tend to add new skus. As the number of skus increase, these manufacturers eventually get drawn into the mass merchants addiction and then – what happens ? Production begins to move offshore.
For example, a major Canadian manufacturer makes some of the best BBQs available today and has been an incredible Canadian manufacturing success story. They have done a great job building their brand through quality products and great support. However, this same company now has overseas manufacturing and sells these products to the mass merchants. Customers are often surprised to learn that a BBQ with the same brand name in our showroom is made in Canada whereas the one at the Big Box Bargain Store was made overseas with cheaper components. As an aside, this BBQ manufacturer is not alone …. Many Canadian and U.S. manufacturers employ this strategy. This allows the mass merchant to have a cheaper priced (and produced) product that shows well in their weekly flyer.
Its been our experience that customers will pay more for quality when appropriate and explained. Its unfortunate that so many manufacturers sometimes forego quality in order to get short term sales gains with the mass merchants.
Formerly great manufacturing brands have been decimated overtime by the lowering of their manufacturing standards to meet the bargain box store expectations and weekly sales flyers. Hopefully, our great Canadian fireplace & BBQ manufacturers will resist and fight this temptation and continue to produce great high quality products right here in Canada.