Macdonald’s of Meaford 65th Anniversary

By YSN Staff

This retail success story was founded in 1953 by brothers, Charlie and John Macdonald, who started out in retail hardware and early on recognized the opportunity to move into the appliance and furniture businesses. At first, they started organizing arena sales in order to have enough space to sell these new categories. Then, in 1979 they made the decision to build a 42,000 square foot store at a new location on the highway in order to accommodate the surging consumer demand.

They are most proud of their reputation for taking care of their customers. When asked what he thought about celebrating 65 years in the retail business, Charlie told a local reporter: “I just can’t believe it; we knew how to work, and we still do.” Charlie, 87, had to stop there to get back to greeting and servicing his loyal customers. Charlie and John both enjoyed active ‘careers’ in hockey. The Macdonalds are known for their generosity, supporting the families and youth of Meaford in various programs at the Community Centre. In addition, the family is well known for its support of the Meaford Hospital Foundation. 

In a prominent place inside the store, they’ve created a photo wall detailing the chronological history of Macdonald’s, including the original incorporation seal and certificate. In addition, some customers contributed photos from their own albums. Charlie is still involved in the business on a weekly basis and his son, Greg, is the president of this growing business. Following the family legacy, Greg’s son Tommy, along with his grandson Hunter make four generations of the Macdonald family working in the business. 

Macdonald’s sells products and services to a mix of clientele from permanent residents to those who have seasonal or year-round retreats in the south Georgian Bay market. The compay’s location, just over an hour from the largest market in Ontario, the Greater Toronto Area, gives the Macdonald’s additional growth opportunities.

Planning for the 65th anniversary celebration included everyone who had a hand in the store’s success, said Greg Macdonald.

“To organize our 65th celebration, we determined to ensure that there were events involving the entire family,” he said. “This is something that extends from our family to the families of our customers.” 

Macdonald’s wrote the book on how to make an experience worth attending. Included was a local DJ, space in the parking lot for folks to sing together, dance a bit or enjoy food from the BBQ. At various times over the four-day event, there were over 450 people in the store. The “Golden Town Cruisers” got involved too, showcasing specialty retro cars from the 1930s. The highway visibility of Macdonalds BrandSource meant that many people saw the celebration and stopped in to take part in the fun.

A big part of Macdonald’s growth has been its developing relationships with key vendor partners. “Being part of the Macdonald’s family is very important to us here at Springwall,” said Jack Szendry of Springwall Sleep Products. Representatives from Whirlpool, England Upholstery, Palliser plus other key vendors assisted to ensure this event was successful.

Over the past four years, Greg has led the store through major changes in order to improve its services and products. In the appliance department, Macdonald’s, a multi brand appliance retailer, features KitchenAid, Wolf, Sub Zero, Whirlpool, Maytag, Fisher & Paykel, Electrolux, Frigidaire Professional, GE, Bosch and Bertazzoni.

In the outdoor cooking shop, Macdonald’s shows Napoleon Grills, Big Green Egg and other product lines. A new addition, the recently installed Sleep Shop, assists  consumers in the Meaford market in getting just the right bed for them from a variety of leading manufacturers including Beautyrest, Springwall and Tempur-Pedic. 

In the growing furniture department, Macdonald’s has installed a furniture gallery format featuring La-Z-BOY and England Upholstery (a La-Z-BOY company) as well as adding a Palliser gallery, and products from Signature Design by Ashley. In addition, they have an expanded assortment of Canadian manufacturers such as Decorest, Superstyle and Trendline. 

The marketing plan for the event included both traditional as well as digital media. Macdonald’s was featured on local radio and developed a special flyer as part of the event package. Utilizing a combination of media resources helped to simplify production. Part of this marketing included targeted VIP e-mails, Facebook marketing, 75,000 direct mailers, plus $20,000 in product giveaways. 

Greg Macdonald said that without the assistance of Don Burnett over the past four years and the digital transformation from Mega BrandSource, “We just couldn’t have made this happen.” 

“We achieved sales far higher than our expectations; in just four days we achieved the same sales results as in a normal month,” he said. “Even more importantly, not only did we strengthen our ties with our customers, we also developed relationships with new consumers in the market through our social media efforts.” 

Not content to rest on their laurels, the folks at Macdonald’s will be hosting a special design presentation by Sarah Richardson of HGTV.  

YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.

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