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Loblaws buys Shoppers Drug Mart

August 23, 2013 | Raya | Comments (0)


Loblaw Companies Ltd. recently announced a friendly $12.4-billion deal to acquire Shoppers Drug Mart. Shoppers will retain its brand name and operate as a separate division of Loblaw. Loblaw products, such as their private label President’s Choice, will be available in Shoppers stores, while some of the pharmacy retailer’s products and services, such as Life brands, will be available in the grocery retailer’s stores. The purchase of Shoppers is part of a bigger plan to give the company a larger share of urban consumers looking for convenience.

The first Loblaw Groceterias Inc. store opened in 1919 and was the first grocery store to offer a self-serve, cash-and-carry retail experience. It quickly became a hit with shoppers as it offered quality goods at lower prices. By 1928 the company expands throughout Ontario and into the U.S., and in 1939 the name Loblaws replaces the name Loblaw Groceterias on store fronts. In 1947 W. Garfield Weston, president of George Weston Limited, acquires 100,000 shares of Loblaw stock from company co-founder J. Milton Cork and proceeds to take the company to new heights.The 1950s sees store sizes expand and large parking lots are built to accomodate suburban consumers. In 1972 W.Galen Weston is appointed Chief Executive Officer and makes more exciting changes by redesigning stores and the Loblaw logo.The No Name Brand is introduced in 1978, and  No Frills stores, President's Blend Coffee, the President's Choice product line, the Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie appear in subsequent years. And now, with Galen Weston at the helm, Loblaws has begun yet another new chapter in it's 100 year history by changing the Canadian retail landscape.

To read more about these and other great Canadian businesses, check out these books:


  41lwkZJSpGL.Image._AA300_ 41+mZczlQsL._SL500_SY346_        Retail



           Eatons Retail    Retail2




It's the season of lists.

July 22, 2013 | Teresa | Comments (0)

Business lists 2This time of year has always been my favorite - and not because summer vacation is right around the corner.  A few of our venerable business magazines, around this time of the year, publish special issues of their magazines, ranking a large number of Canadian companies.

Why should this be so exciting?  These issues contain a wealth of information on companies that are of value to investors, job seekers and business start ups.  And best yet, they all cover Canadian companies. 

Years ago, our users only had access to the print versions of these publications.  Now many of these titles offer added features (some free, some paid) on their websites which allow downloads and manipulation of some of the information. 

Let's have a look at a few of these titles:


Rob 2013The Globe and Mail's July/August issue of Report on Business is their annual ranking of Canada's most profitable companies.   This issue documents the 100 biggest companies by revenue, the 50 biggest private companies, as well as industry rankings and outlooks.  The top 10 companies are given for such sectors as banks, transportation, mining, technology and wireless, retailers, oil and gas  as well as some smaller areas such as agriculture, investment dealers, management companies, life insurers.  Great stuff if you are doing an analysis of industry sectors. 


Canadian business 500 2013Canadian Business magazine, in its May issue reports on the top 500 companies to invest in for the year.   This issue includes analysis of the stock market by a number of top analysts, as well as giving a snapshot of some of the best companies in Canada.  

This list is celebrating it's 50th anniversary and includes information on how the list has evolved since its inception back in 1964. 

The issue also takes a look at the coming year in investing, exploring areas of potential growth for investors. 





 Profit 500 2013Profit magazine, which covers issues of interest to entrepreneurs, covers the 500 fastest growing companies in Canada in its 25th annual guide. 

The rankings table can be downloaded into Excel and includes rankings by city and region and by industry. 

This issue includes profiles of some of the top and fastest growing companies in Canada, as well as start up advice from successful entrepreneurs, and tips and tricks covering such areas as sales strategies, HR  tactics and favorite technology tools.





A reminder that these issues, while available online, are also available in print at a number of TPL branches. 







Beach blanket business books

June 28, 2013 | Raya | Comments (0)



Beach reading isn't necessarily literature. It may be hard to believe but there are quite a few busines books that actually qualify as beach reading material. A good beach book should have an excellent narrative flow and widespread appeal. A good beach book is engaging and a quick enough read that you can finish most of before your sunscreen wears off. With any of the following beach books in hand, all you need to remember is your towel and sunscreen. Enjoy!!


Beach Forbes: the legendary name in finance journalism.  Synonymous with wealth, grand excess, glamour, and fun as well as style, insight, gossip, and hard-nosed reporting, the media empire and the family behind it form a remarkable story that has never been told. Now, in The Fall of the House of Forbes, veteran journalist Stewart Pinkerton reveals the hidden machinations, disastrous decisions, and personal foibles of a century-old dynasty that rose to glittering heights and crashed just as spectacularly.

 A compelling narrative account of a powerful family’s dysfunction, The Fall of the House of Forbes is a parable of capitalism at its best and worst, and a metaphor for the current state of digital turmoil in media.



Beach4In 2006, hedge fund manager John Paulson realized something few others suspected--that the housing market and the value of subprime mortgages were grossly inflated and headed for a major fall.  Paulson's background was in mergers and acquisitions, however, and he knew little about real estate or how to wager against housing. But Paulson was convinced this was his chance to make his mark. He just wasn't sure how to do it.  Colleagues at investment banks scoffed at him and investors dismissed him.  Even pros skeptical about housing shied away from the complicated derivative investments that Paulson was just learning about.  But Paulson and a handful of renegade investors such as Jeffrey Greene and Michael Burry began to bet heavily against risky mortgages and precarious financial companies. Initially, Paulson and the others lost tens of millions of dollars as real estate and stocks continued to soar. Rather than back down, however, Paulson redoubled his bets, putting his hedge fund and his reputation on the line. In the summer of 2007, the markets began to implode, bringing Paulson early profits, but also sparking efforts to rescue real estate and derail him. By year's end, though, John Paulson had pulled off the greatest trade in financial history, earning more than $15 billion for his firm--a figure that dwarfed George Soros's billion-dollar currency trade in 1992.  Paulson made billions more in 2008 by transforming his gutsy move.  Some of the underdog investors who attempted the daring trade also reaped fortunes. But others who got the timing wrong met devastating failure, discovering that being early and right wasn't nearly enough.


Beach5The time was the 1980s. The place was Wall Street. The game was called Liar's Poker. Michael Lewis was fresh out of Princeton and the London School of Economics when he landed a job at Salomon Brothers, one of Wall Street's premier investment firms. During the next three years, Lewis rose from callow trainee to bond salesman, raking in millions for the firm and cashing in on a modern-day gold rush. Liar's Poker is the culmination of those heady, frenzied years—a behind-the-scenes look at a unique and turbulent time in American business. From the frat-boy camaraderie of the forty-first-floor trading room to the killer instinct that made ambitious young men gamble everything on a high-stakes game of bluffing and deception, here is Michael Lewis's knowing and hilarious insider's account of an unprecedented era of greed, gluttony, and outrageous fortune.



 Best friends Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg had spent many lonely nights looking for a way to stand out among Harvard University’s elite, competitive, and accomplished  student body. Then, in 2003, Zuckerberg hacked into Harvard’s computers, crashed  the campus network, almost got himself  expelled, and was inspired to create Facebook, the social networking site that has since revolutionized communication around the world.
With Saverin’s funding their tiny start-up went from dorm room to Silicon Valley. But conflicting ideas about Facebook’s future transformed the friends into enemies. Soon, the undergraduate exuberance that marked their collaboration turned into out-and-out warfare as it fell prey to the adult world of venture capitalists, big money, lawyers.


 Beach7Love him for saving you 50 percent on last night’s Indian dinner or hate him for cashing in big when he could be losing millions for merchants and investors alike, Mason---Groupon’s thirtysomething founder and CEO---made an incredible gamble when he turned down Google’s $6 billion buyout offer to go it alone. The experts thought he was insane. Groupon was little more than two years old and staffed from top to bottom with twentysomethings. The wild ride couldn’t last, but Mason thought otherwise, and with dreams of a potential IPO that could be massive, he liked his odds.

But did he make the right decision, or did he blow a chance to continue to grow “the fastest growing company in history”? Is Mason an Internet genius, or is he sitting on another bubble that could burst at any moment?

Why not listen to a great business book this summer?

June 20, 2013 | Teresa | Comments (0)

Summer driving 2

The July 1 weekend is around the corner, and for many it marks the beginning of the vacation season.  If you are planning a long drive, why not pick up a few audio books to listen to in the car?  Many classic business titles that you just never had time to read, could be "read" while driving.  And while I admit it may not be as entertaining as a Dan Brown novel,  you may be able to return from your trip a bit more business savvy.   Consider some of these titles:


Summer reading 1 This classic by Paco Underhill explores why we shop the way we do.  With data based on thousands of hours of observational research, he explores how working women have affected how supermarkets are designed, how signage and packaging of products affects what we buy, and more.  It may make you think twice about your vacation purchases!





Summer reading 2 Jim Collins, author of the bestseller Good to Great, explores why some companies thrive in chaotic times, while others fail.   Based on a number of years of research, the author explores the secrets of building a great enterprise in uncertain times.                                                 






Summer reading 3This recent classic by well known biographer Walter Isaacson came out very close to the time of Steve Job's death and is a portrait of a man who changed the way we compute, the way we listen to music and how movies are made and how we watch them.






Summer reading 4Economist  Steven Levitt and co-author Stephen Dubner create a new field of economics called freakonomics.  They show that economics is at heart a study of incentives - how to get people the things they want or need when many other people want the same thing.   They use such diverse examples as the crack gangs, real estate agents, even the Klu Klux Klan.





Summer reading 5 In The Price of Everything, journalist Eduardo Porter explores  the premise that there is a price behind each choice that we make and we often fail to appreciate how critical prices are as motivating forces that shape our lives.  This power becomes clearer when distorted prices steer our decisions the wrong way. 




This is just a sampling of the many business related titles that are available for you to check out this summer.  All of these are available in paper format, many are available as e-audiobooks and e-books as well. 

Happy listening!


National Business Book Award winner announced.

June 3, 2013 | Teresa | Comments (0)

The winner of the 28th annual National Business Book Awards was recently announced.  Chrystia Freeland was honored for her book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. The author, who is a columnist for the Globe and Mail, as well as editor of consumer news at Thomson Reuters, explores in her book, the super rich and their impact on the economy and politics. 

Check out her book along with the other nominated titles:


   Nba plutocrats


Other nominated titles:

Nba true north     Nba double     Nba power

For reviews of these titles check out this page from the Report on Business.


A toy story

May 6, 2013 | Raya | Comments (0)




Toys have been around for thousands of years but did not become "big business" until the early 1800s when advances in transportation--mainly trains-- allowed for the wider distribution.  The industrial revolution that followed led to the mass production of toys making them more affordable. Increased accessiblilty was ccompanied by changes in the products themselves. Early toys such as horses, soldiers, wagons and other simple toys were usually made of wood, tin or cast iron. Later innovations in materials, like sawdust-based composition for dolls' heads and lithographed paper on wood to simulate domestic interiors or hand painted scenes on play sets, added variety and rapid change to this growing industry.

The 20th century introduced many new and exciting products: Plasticine was first made commercially in 1900, Meccano was invented by John Hornby in 1901, train sets became very popular in the 1920s and Lego was introduced in the 1950s. Mr. Potato Head appeared in 1952 and the skateboard was invented in 1958.  One of the most famous toys of the 20th century, the Barbie doll, was introduced at the 1959 Toy Fair in New York City. With inventions in circuitry and miniaturization in the early 1980's the video game market exploded with Nintendo leading the pack.  According to a Euromonitor report (report available through  Research Monitor database ) the traditional toy and games industry, currently valued at $1.8 billion (Canadian Toy Industry Association) in Canada, will continue to grow at 1% per year despite an ageing population while video game sales will reach an estimated $3 billion by 2016!

Are you an inventor looking for more information on the toy industry and it's competitors or are you someone who is simply interested in reading about the cut-throat world of toys? Take a look at what the library has to offer:

   Toys1 Toys2 Toys3

  Toys4     Toys5  Toys6


The Pampered Chef

March 11, 2013 | Raya | Comments (0)



In 1980 Doris Christopher, former home economics teacher and stay-at-home mom, decided to supplement the family income by selling quality kitchenware by doing in-home presentations to small groups of women. The key to her success was in demonstrating the ease and versatility of the products by preparing food during her presentations and selling products that she felt passionate about. In her first year she did $50,000 in business and soon after The Pampered Chef was born.

With $3000 in start up money Doris built a business and made it an international success by creating a mission that resonates with most people: To bring families together at the table for shared mealtimes. The company continued to grow even through the 1990's as other party plan merchandisers began to lose business due to changing lifestyles. It spread to the UK in 1999 and Germany in 2000. In 2002 Doris Christopher sold The Pampered Chef to Warren Buffett. Today, The Pampered Chef is a multi-level marketing company with an international workforce of 60,000 that still continues to offer high quality kitchen products.

To read more about The Pampered Chef and other direct selling companies, take a look at these books:

Pampered1 Pampered2 Pampered3 Pampered4







Branding your business

December 22, 2012 | Raya | Comments (2)

Have you been able to connect emotionally to your customers?  Is your company irreplaceable?  Do you think you can build a lifelong relationship with your customers? Maximizing your business' earning potential by creating a brand that people just can't live without is pretty tricky. So how do you do this?

In order to succeed in branding you must first identify the needs and wants of your customers. You do this by integrating your brand strategies through your company at every point of public contact. Be innovative and evolve as customers needs change. It's important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand. Your brand then becomes a promise to your customers that the product will always be reliable and trustworthy. It's a foundational piece in your marketing communication and one you do not want to be without

Brands that have been around for a long time can be excellent examples of how to target your customers. Take for example Nestles which is the leading brand of instant coffee. It was also the first.  After intensive research in the 1930s researchers developed a way to reduce their coffee surpluses by producing a cheaper coffee which could be made by adding water. Over the years it continued to be innovative by introducing various types of coffee.  As a result Nescafe has remained the world's leading coffee brand and the second most valuable brand in the beverage sector with around 3,000 cups of Nescafe drunk every second!  Then there is Wrigley whose main product was Wrigley's Scouring Soap and not gum. William Wrigley believed in customer incentives and offered a free packet of baking powder with every purchase of his soap.  The baking powder soon became more popular than the soap so Wrigley started selling the baking powder and offered two packs of gum as an incentive.  Again, when Wrigley realized that the gum was more popular than the baking powder he allowed his customers to dictate his business direction and made gum the sole focus of his company. After that, he continued to introduce different varieties of gum and worked hard to market his best product--Wrigley's Spearmint-- by advertising in ways no one had before.

There are many more brands like Nestles and Wrigleys and they all have many things in common when it comes to branding. Will your company be the next Nike, Campbell's or Coca-Cola? Here are some books to get you started:

Brand Brand3 Brand4 Brand5




Procter & Gamble celebrates 175th anniversary

December 14, 2012 | Raya | Comments (2)




Procter and Gamble produces many of the products we use in our homes.  From toothpaste to detergent to cat food and more, P & G has become a global success story.  The key to their success has been innovation. By combining high value with excellent products as well as producing great advertising campaigns, P & G has positioned itself to be a market leader.

In 1837 brothers-in-law William Procter, a candlemaker, and James Gamble, a soapmaker, signed a partnership agreement and started producing both soap and candles.  In the 1880's they began marketing a product called "Ivory".  This revolutionary new product consisted of soap flakes that float in water. Like most companies of the time, P & G spent very little on advertising using only small ads in religious journals and city newspapers. Not until 1900 did they hire an advertising agency to handle its ads which began to appear as increasingly sophisticated four-colour ads. Then, as radio became more popular in the 1930's, P & G began advertising their products during radio programs.  These shows became known as "soap operas". By 1889, P&G employed 600 people and had annual sales that topped $3 million.  They also began to market new products that in some cases competed with existing ones. This laid the ground work for today's brand-management system and was the beginning of P&G's ongoing quest to respond to customers' needs.

Over the years P & G has acquired companies that have continued to give them the opportunity to diversify their product lines. Realizing the importance of increasing consumer engagement with their brands, P & G has managed to create a loyal consumer following through it's product quality, customer service and innovative product line.

If you want to read more about P&G, check out these books:

Procter Procter2 Procter3  Procter6



Customer service the Nordstrom way

October 19, 2012 | Raya | Comments (0)


Yet another U.S. company is set to make an appearance on the Canadian retail scene. Nordstrom Inc. will be opening 4 stores in Canada, the first of which will open in 2014 in Calgary, followed by stores in Ottawa and Vancouver in 2015, and then Toronto in the following year. It expects to hire 1000 employees and has plans to continue to expand across the country.

In 1887 at the age of 16 John W. Nordstrom left Sweden for New York City to make his fortune.  After many years of labouring in mining and logging camps John went to the Klondike and within two years had earned $13,000 and then returned to Seattle to start a business. In 1901, Nordstrom and his partner Carl Wallin opened their first shoe store in downtown Seattle.  John's business philosophy was based on exceptional service, selection, quality and value. As a result of this philosophy he built a devoted customer base that has continued to this day.  The company soon grew to become the largest independent shoe chain in the country. In the early 1960's Nordstrom purchased a fashion retail store in Seattle and merged it with their shoe store. Business prospered and two new stores were opened in Washington followed by expansion to the East Coast.

John Nordstom's philosophy of catering to customer's needs and providing excellent customer service is a mainstay of company policy that has made Nordstom a huge success in the retail industry.

If you're looking to improve your customer service and your bottom line, take a look at these books:


Nordstrom Nordstrom2 Nordstrom3

Nordstrom4 Nordstrom5 Nordstrom6

Welcome! We are specialized librarians in our business department and we write about current issues for small business owners and those interested in personal finance matters. For more information and resources see our Small Business & Personal Finance page.