Sapporo Showroom a Great Success Story
Posted by Jim Ivanoff
May 25th, 2009
Last week I had the opportunity to go to Sapporo to attend the Hokkaido 2×4 Association's AGM. I also visited several clients around this event in order to promote this year's GBM. The highlight of these visits though was visiting a new showroom for BC made kitchen cabinets.
Prior to the Nikkei Show, we worked with one of our members on establishing a new business relationship with a Sapporo builder/distributor that has been working with imported building products for over 20 years. They had never been directly been involved with kitchens before, but were interested in expanding their business into this area.
Fortunately they were very impressed with our member's approach to the Japanese market and their business style. Therefore, they have decided to move forward in promoting these cabinets in the Hokkaido area. With this new showroom they will be able to show the Canadian product to both other builders/ architects as well as end-users. This is key in a tough local market like Hokkaido where economic weakness for many, many years has meant that consumers are very fickle about what they spend their money on. With real product on the ground, hopefully this distributor will also be able to target the neighbouring resort areas around Niseko.
While I am of course proud of the work we have done to help this member build the foundations for a new business venture, I am also impressed by the fact that a small company in such a tough market is so keen on representing Canadian products (they are planning to come to the GBM and look for more!). Even with the economy being the way it is, they obviously see a market for high-quality products. As the president of the company basically told me, "it won't happen overnight, but if we work hard on it with a long-term business focus we can build it into a good business as quality never goes out of style."