We woke up to a beautiful sunny day in Ottawa. We looked out the window of our hotel and tens of thousands of people were filling the street heading towards the Parliament building. Jack and I walked with the crowd and sat very near the stage in front of the Parliament building. We got to see the Prime Minister and his family and the Queen as they walked in and out of the event. A great show was put on and fun was had by all.
Later in the day, I got a chance to visit the Bay and Zellers store. The Bay store was located right downtown in the best location. I was shown around by Gina Ceppetelli, the store director, and Pia Barry and Charles Ledesque. This is a great store with tremendous opportunity. I can’t wait until we have an opportunity to renovate the store and introduce more exciting brands. I have to tell you that I was a bit cranky when I visited the store because after walking through the city surrounded by a hundred thousand people all wearing Canadian gear I was disappointed at the selection and availability of our Canada product. Canadians are very different from USA in that people seem to love to wear patriotic clothing especially on Canada Day. In the United States, if you walked around on the 4th of July, maybe 20% of the crowd would be wearing red, white and blue or US gear. In Canada with no exception 100% of everyone out was wearing something that was a Canadian branded product. What a great opportunity for us.
At the Zellers store, Pat Grant, store manager, walked me around what was one of our oldest Zellers stores. This store is one of the original 11 Zellers stores to open their doors for business in 1932. This is a store that has done well but we as an organization need to figure out how to get more product out of the undersized stores.
As Jack and I continue to travel around Canada, what is most apparent to us is the huge opportunity that we have at the Hudson’s Bay Company. So many opportunities to improve service, to improve product, to modify buildings. We certainly have a bright future if we all connect the dots.
Filed under: Tour Tagged: | 2010, Barenaked Ladies, Canada, Canada Day, concert, HBC, Hudson's Bay Company, Ottawa, Parliament Hill, Prime Minister, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of England, Richard Baker, Snowbirds, The Bay, Zellers