In business now for more than 12 years, Solutions–Your Organized Living Store has provided office and home organizing products to the market and its customers since 1999.
According to the company website, the concept of Solutions is to create a positive, organized and inspiring place to shop and work; to provide each customer with innovative solutions to help simplify their life.
Solutions has built its niche in storage and organization products for the home and for the office. Stores range from 12,000 to 20,000 square feet, housing organizational products for kitchens, closets, bathrooms, storage, shelving, offices, garages, and more.
Impressive product line
Solutions markets its product to the medium- to high-end demographic, believing that this group will only grow with time. Its place in the market is that the business will continue to see more growth because everyone is always moving, always needing to stay organized, etc.
The company attributes its marketplace separation to its strong ability of keeping up with the times, “bringing in the newest and trendiest of products”, and by assuming some risk in bringing these products to the market first through Solutions stores. Added Rick Walia, CEO, “We travel all over the world looking for products, some of which have never been in Canada, so if it has to come from Australia, we will bring it.”
Heralded with accolades
Though the company is still relatively new, its positive impact on its market has not gone unrecognized. For five consecutive years, Solutions has been honoured among Profit magazine rankings of the top 100 fastest growing companies, with a potential sixth nomination this year. Additionally, the company has won a Consumers’ Choice Award—for two years running—in the category of Business Excellence in Closet Organizers.
Such success had made it possible for Solutions to plan for nationwide expansion. Beginning in Whitby, Ont., and now with stores throughout the province, the plan now is to expand to the likes of British Columbia and Alberta, with destinations throughout the two provinces. The plan is to grow the business in Western Canada. But first, Solutions will for the first time be launching three new Ontario branches this year, in Cambridge, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Barrie. According to Walia, the feeling is that there is room to grow to 16 stores in Ontario. Adding to that, the goal is to grow to 40 stores within the next five years.
“I think we are actually growing faster this year. Last year, we opened two stores. I think the reason for that is that retail had a bit of a dip a couple of years ago so that made an opportunity for us as we got better locations, so that gave us an opportunity to grow,” Walia said. “They say, when the market is down, it is the best time to expand, and because we are still a small company, we can grow at the level we choose, so that has given us more opportunities.”
Solutions labels itself as “Proudly Canadian”, expanding throughout the nation, and for the time being, the plan remains to stay in Canada. Walia said there is “no plan yet” to expand further in North America, like the United States. “I think we have a lot of opportunity. The U.S. retail is suffering right now, retail is down, and I think it will not get better for the next few years, so Canada for us is the best place and we really want to be a nationwide chain here before we even think about the United States.”
Like many, Solutions builds on its brand through an association membership, being a part of the Professional Organizers in Canada (POC). As a national association, the POC currently represents more than 500 members, from all industry sectors, like residential and office organizers.
But one can’t truly quite get the full impression of the Solutions offerings without a visit. With the franchise expanding across the country, that opportunity has become even more available. “You really have to see our stores to figure out what we are. It is very interesting when you walk in the store—you will probably spend an hour figure out everything—because the concept is a category to the marketplace that has never before existed.”