Interestingly, the company’s history goes back 59 years, when Cohen’s grandfather owned a business called Cohen Cartage, which specialized in moving hanging garments within the city of Montréal from the manufacturer to retail distribution centres.
In the early 1950s, his grandfather broke his arm, so he pulled his son (Cohen’s father) out of school to do the physical work of carrying the materials up and down the manufacturer’s stairs and onto the truck. “That was the beginning of my father’s career,” tells Cohen. “From that point, my father worked in the company for many years, until he began working for other transport companies”, explains Cohen, whose father eventually started his own business.
Bridging services to and from Montréal and Toronto
In 1977, his father started a Montréal-based company called All Type Transport, a transportation company which is one of three divisions that make up Remco Group today. This transport arm of the Remco Group still provides movement of goods—both general freight and garments. Established and incorporated in 1968, Remco, an acronym for Retail Merchants Consolidation, was originally owned by a gentleman in Toronto.
In the early 1980s, this previous owner was looking for a liaison in Montréal to receive the merchandise from customers and then ship it back to the capital of Ontario. In 1983, Cohen’s father bought Remco Forwarding Ltd., a Toronto-based transport company. Meanwhile, he continued to run All Type Transport from Montréal.
“Over time, he got into hanging garments, which was already happening locally both within Toronto and Montréal; this new ownership opened up the Montréal-Toronto lane, so to speak, for overnight delivery,” tells Cohen.
Today, the two companies function as one transportation units under the Remco Group umbrella, which Cohen formed himself three years ago. Around the same time, in the early 1980s, his father initially opened a third party logistics (3PL) warehouse, when a customer required storage of its garments. “He rented a 3,000 square foot storage facility equipped it with hanging racking to accommodate this client who required the hanging of several thousand pieces of fake furs. That’s really how the warehousing side of the business began,” explains Cohen. This aspect of the business became what is called The Fashion
Distributors, which still exists today as the company’s warehousing division. Each division still operates as a separate unit, however, they are wholly owned by the Remco Group.
Industry leader in specialty niche
The Remco Group that exists today is the only national hanging garment carrier in Canada. As a market leader, the company has carved out its spot in this niche. “There are no other kinds of companies like ours today that can offer full, coast-to-coast service from hanging garments in trucks, to distributing goods to retailers and customers. This is definitely our specialty, however we have branched out into all consumer and industrial products tells Cohen. “It also ties in with our higher level specialty, which is customer service and quality service,” he says.
As a business, Remco Group grew in the 1980s and 1990s on the back of the garment trade. Unfortunately, the manufacturing business in Montréal dwindled over recent years, mostly because of the government lifting the quotas in the importing of goods, especially in the clothing sector. “About five years ago, the quotas were dropped and Québec has since lost approximately 50,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector,” explains Cohen, adding many companies are resorting to foreign trade partners.
While Remco’s specialty is still in the transportation of hanging garments, the company has re-positioned itself to become a global competitor and market leader in 3PLs for electronics, accessories, office supplies, computers and peripherals, and consumer goods.
Exceeding customers’ expectations opens to doors to expand
Remco’s consistent service that exceeds customers’ expectations in a highly demanding, time sensitive industry has set the groundwork for successful expansion into a variety of other fields, such as electronics.
“About 15 years ago, while the garment trade wasn’t dying just yet, we concentrated on the warehousing part of our business, 3PL, which
was growing, and we’ve notice it even more in recent years,” says Cohen. “Today, we’re operating in 635,000 square feet in six locations across Canada—one facility in Vancouver, another in Montréal and four
“The company has grown in the past 32 years and will continue to develop in the future,” says Cohen of the company’s forecasted growth in the next year. In addition, the company will be implementing new transportation technology in its fleet. GPS (global positioning systems) that track vehicles and handheld devices that capture signatures electronically at the point of delivery are being evaluated currently. “The vehicle operating system will help us train drivers to be more efficient, as well as affect repairs to make the vehicles turn at optimal efficiency,” says Cohen. Remco Group prides itself on up-to-date facilities, trucks and technology, as well as overall reliability and expediency. CB