Established in 1985, Calibre Sales originally operated as a part-time business out of the home of its founder, company president Mansur Kanchwala. The company grew quickly from a 1,200 square foot office in Aurora, Ont. to a 50,000 square foot office in Concord, Ont.. This family-owned and operated Canadian business currently works to execute its impressive plan to make a move to a 125,000 square foot facility in the second quarter of 2013 in order to accommodate its growing client base.
Calibre Sales is a master distributor of disposable packaging products geared towards the food service and hospitality industries, serving food processors, institutional operators, and food retailers. Calibre Sales works with all of the major national manufacturers in Canada, the U.S., and overseas, warehousing merchandise such as baking needs, catering products and eco-friendly packaging. The company sources new products and distributes them worldwide, helping businesses increase efficiency and profitability by providing them with one supplier for every type of food packaging need.
Kanchwala has been in the food service industry since 1968, and moved his business towards product distribution in 1985. The company originally started as a Canadian redistributor, and later expanded up and beyond — serving as a master distributor across Canada. Kanchwala’s background in food services and manufacturing helped escalate the growth of the company, whose motto is, “Your Supplier, Not Your Competitor”, because of the relationships the company builds with its distributors. “We have a great relationship with all of our distributors,” Kanchwala said, “and it’s become such a good relationship because we aren’t in direct competition with those we supply.”
Essentially, Calibre Sales is a middle-man company for buyers who know what they need, but do not have the time to contact multiple suppliers to get their products and to get the best price. Calibre Sales sources companies that offer value, and who are able to provide solutions ffrom different mills in order to deliver the best service.
The upside of the Calibre model is that the company purchases products in large volumes from the manufacturers and distributes them to smaller businesses.
The company uses the just-in-time distribution system, and while this distribution structure can prove itself a challenging proposition at times, it allows for a quick turnaround and low minimums. This is the secret behind Calibre Sales — keeping a good rapport with manufacturers, while giving the particular distributors (one that carry only a specific brand) ability to order products on a smaller volume basis. Calibre Sales benefits both the manufacturers and product distributors.
With an increasing demand of “to-go” food options, there has been a need in the food industry to consider a more eco-friendly approach, and the packaging industry continues to work on keeping the waste out of landfills. Calibre Sales offers its clients an eco-friendly packaging product line which includes hot and cold drinking cups, take out containers, plates, bags, cutlery, napkins and much more. These ecoproducts are made from fully renewable sources — fiber from sustainably managed forests and Ingeo (used in packaging manufacturing and other industries, Ingeo biopolymer (polylactid (PLA)) is a plant based resin acquired through a process of plant fermentation and separation). These eco-friendly packaging products meet Sustainable Forestry Initiative Chain of Custody certification standards, and are certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute.
“We took an interest in the green project when the shift towards more ecofriendly products started happening,” says Kanchwala. “We know that eco products represent the future in every aspect of life, and we will continue to grow this line.”
While Calibre Sales currently supplies multi-unit national chains, the company’s move to a larger facility in 2013 will allow Calibre Sales to aim at international accounts with these companies. Calibre also seeks to create representation in other provinces and expand its reach further, supplying a larger percentage of Canadian businesses.
All these initiatives aim at the company’s growth, increasing national account growth and overall business expansion. Calibre Sales is currently working in Canada, the U.S., China, and India, with a keen interest to take the company business further and down to South American and Indonesian markets. “We’re becoming a global source of products,” says Kanchwala. “We’re looking at growth in the United States. There are a couple of global source companies in this market, and if we consolidate with them, we could grow so much more.”
The plan is tall, but so are the opportunities within the disposable packaging products industry. Calibre Sales continues to gather some serious momentum and plans to bring in new clients, accounts and profits.