When retail comes to bite you in the ….
As some of you know the story for those of you who are new here may not be aware of what happened just a few months ago that changed my life and several others. This is the story of how Bauer hockey ruined my business and thousands of others. I feel it is necessary to share stories like this because what’s been happening in this industry for years now just isn’t right. And we’ll get to what happened in just a minute.
Now the only reason I am making this sort of documentary if you will to expose these companies for what they really are and their impact on the community is for several reasons, mainly because I have a moral obligation to do what’s right but also because I tried very hard to resolve the situation with Bauer Hockey directly on several occasions quietly but now it has gotten to the point where that just isn’t going to happen.
My story itself starts back in 2012 where I decided to go into the sporting goods industry. Where I had a passion for both Soccer and Hockey I began slowly by selling soccer jerseys which eventually grew into this tiny little shop no bigger than literally 400 square feet. There I decided to go into hockey equipment sales as well when i saw a massive need in the industry for that type of product. And so my relationship with both Bauer and CCM started there. My initial order was small and modest from Groupe hockey who approved our account and first initial order with Bauer.
We eventually from there gravitated to selling online where things really got moving and our business just exploded. From our initial ten hockey equipment products we eventually had a wider selection of inventory which left us with not much space in our tiny little hole in the wall. So in 2018 we decided it was time to expand and evolve our business. We moved into a much better situation in a true retail environment that mixed both in store sales and online.
Now the thing you need to understand is that when you are a small retailer just starting out you can’t buy directly from the big guys so you have no other option but to purchase from distributors. IN canada when I started we had three across the country. We setup accounts with all the distributors approval while they and Bauer were well aware of our intentions of selling online and how our business would operate. This key bit of info is very important.
So finally in October of 2018 we lined up our new store location and prepared our big move. While in this process I did make a call to Bauer Hockey who i got in touch with one of their area sales persons told them of our bigger plans which were to open several locations across our province with the plans to give Bauer a ton more business. At this point the sales persons didn’t immediately accept our request to do busiess and purchase product from them directly until we mentioned the large amounts of cash we intended to spend. And yes these plans were being worked on we had investors ready to spend with us. AFter telling them this the sales person we will call Kavin told us that he would come by when our new store was officially open in November. We expected Bauer to at the very least give us an opportunity to show them our business and how we planned to grow and become bigger and larger.
Well months went by and no one ever called or showed up. Christmas came and went the business continued to grow until the end of January 2019. One morning on the way into work i see an email come through from one of our suppliers westmount. Apparently Bauer spoke with them and told them to close our account and no longer sell us Bauer Product. Why? No specific reason. SO i arrive at the store trying to figure out what happened and what to do and at this point my head is spinning. About an hour later our other supplier emailed us with the exact same email. And again no specific reason why.
At this point i pick up the phone and call Bauer directly speaking with customer service and the issue was that no one with any authority at all was available as they work on the go. Well it took several weeks to finally get someone to contact us which was already incredibly frustrating without any real responses. But at least i finally had Ben on the phone.
So finally with Ben on the phone i was explained that we were not approved to sell online and that was our mine issue along with not being allowed to advertise sale prices on products. I tried getting an explanation as to why no one bothered to contact us directly if there was an issue. Ben answered well we dont do business directly with you. I say so you just go behind our backs instead of saying a word and then i have to call over and over to speak with anyone? No comment from Ben. At this point he simply told us he didnt want us to sell it was pretty obvious that for some odd reason they just had no interest in doing business with us in general and didn’t really want to give us an opportunity at all.
I kept getting the same responses throughout the conversation that Bauer has changed their vision. Whatever that was even supposed to mean? Which I think I know what it means but we’ll speak of that later. So I did mention what our vision was and how beneficial it was to them as well and Ben told us ok well we will come see you in a few days gave us a date and time when him and kavin were going to come see us and talk business. Well that day came and went and no one ever showed up. I was told their schedule wouldn’t allow it. But I would here from them again soon. Well I waited for that phone call another week or two with no business and losing clients because we couldn’t order any product. The conversation did happen but we were told again that they didn’t want us. That we couldn’t sell online and that we had to follow all these ridiculous rules that doesn’t support small or medium sized business at all. How were we supposed to grow if we cant show competitive prices.
Well inevitably since we had no support and no way to get product anymore, we had no choice but to close. We at that point asked them to take their product back since we had no real opportunity to sell it anymore. BUt that didnt happen until months later when i decided to take them on. Recently i emailed them demanding compensation for their actions since they screwed us out of a future they owed us. It was a pretty hilarious response to be honest with you how they figured they just say as goodwill we’ll take your stuff back. Really? After what five months? That was more of a slap in the face.
So at this point i had to explain to them the severity of the way they do business and the consequences but they still of course dont care, They had their opportunity to repair the situation but they chose not to.
So lets talk about how they do business and their “vision”. SO it has become obvious that they only want to do business with already established companies like Pro Hockey Life and Sport Chek. And they dont want to give opportunity to anyone else and are even proud to mention how they have closed thousands of accounts recently.
Well there is a problem with this situation as now they are forming a Monopoly amongst themselves and the already filthy stinken rich. Because their is really only one company that owns all the other retail stores so in reality all the good goes to them. And let me tell you that when PHL “accidentlly” discounts a product they get a slap on the wrist. This is something i mentioned to them and they had no comment on how come they get special treatment.
So to those of you who are considering opening a hockey store the odds of your success are slim to none reason why is because you will likely not receive an opportunity to buy from them directly, you likely wont be able to sell online, and you likely wont be able to have their elite products. This is another thing we were denied constantly which is ridiculous considering these are the products that actually make money and get customers in the door. I felt pretty stupid on so many occassions when i had to tell my customers sorry cant order that product. Not that its out of stock but just the simple fact that Bauer wont sell it to us even if we offer them millions of dollars. Which just doesn’t make sense? Does it? If others are allowed to buy then how come we aren’t even with the money to do it? WHy the special treatment for other companies?
And now for the ultimate kicker. When we were dismantling our store and preparing to close we suddenly received an email that ccm closed us as well. I eventually did speak with a representative and he told me it was becausje of brampton and that it was stagnent in growth. Which in reality if you look at it is really stupid because there realy arent many businesses even selling their porudct in brampton so really how would you even know.
The whole siituation was honestly just ridiculous between both companies and at this point im out to make this story public. Bauer is the main culprit here as they specifically just refuse to work with people. They dont even realize how they are making an economy that is completely uncompetitive. Theyve destroyed all the mom and pop shops who relied on them and helped them grow over the years. But instead of a thank you all they received was closed accounts. This company does not appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit. They dont believe in the little guy anymore. And all they choose to do is help put them out of business inside of inspiring true economic growth by simply allowing growth. Why should i be treted any different from anyone else? I worked hard at this business 7 days a week and 14 hour days for years all for absolutely nothing to have it stripped away by a company who uses their power against the little guy.
And something here needs to change. IM asking that you like this video and share it. Im hoping that the company and the government here will listen and do something. SOmething like this cant continue. This country and this continent deserves an opportuinity to grow instead of only allowing the rich to get even richer. And on that note stop doig business with this company. Trust me there products arent even that great. There’s a reason why i would get a ton of claims for bauer products breaking or being defective and not CCM.
And that’s it for me …. Lets get them to do something!!