A lot of press is given to the impact of big-box chain stores on small business, and most of it has a pretty negative slant. The Mr. Canary® Company doesn’t have that kind of story. In fact, we see the ‘big boys’ in an opposite light. And when it comes to being a small business, we wrote the book. We joke that our company isn’t even big enough to be a ‘Mom & Pop,’ it’s just a ‘Mom.’ Without the support and orders from the stores listed here, it’s unlikely we could have survived and thrived over the last 19 years. We list them here with pride and gratitude for all their help in keeping us going and teaching us so much about what it takes to compete in the big time. As we keep growing, we’ll update this page with other places you can find us.
Kmart was the first customer we had back in 1995. At that time they were probably the 2nd largest retailer in America and certainly one of the largest in the world. Our first buyer, Adrienne, taught us the ropes about how to play in the big league and believe me, we had a lot to learn. It’s hard to even imagine how we would have gotten to where we are today without our great relationship with Kmart. Everyone at Kmart has always treated us respectfully and professionally and we very proud to still have them as a major customer all these years later.
When you’re a really small business with a retail product, landing Walmart as an account is something comparable to finding the Holy Grail… at least that’s how it seems. Whenever we’re asked to give a presentation to a small business group, or if we get interviewed by a local paper or TV station, without exception the “How did you get into Walmart?” question always comes up. Americans have such a love/hate relationship with this corporation; it’s kind of funny. Personally, we have received only top-notch treatment from everyone at Walmart. They treat you respectfully and professionally at Walmart. In fact, we will go further and say some of the absolute kindest people we’ve met anywhere, (thank you, Paula) work at Walmart Headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Everyone knows all the stuff about Goliath, but here are some points from David that never seem to get as much attention:
UPDATE:Since the time this was written, we’ve also met with Mike Duke, the CEO of Walmart. Chris and I, and my daughter Laura (helping us schlep our wares that day) sat in his office for a delightful 20-30 minute conversation. Picture it: the CEO of the Largest Corporation in The World, having a sit-down with arguably the SMALLEST corporation doing business with Walmart. We informed Mr. Duke that since our entire corporation was in his office that day, we were declaring it our Annual Meeting and the CEO of Walmart, our Keynote Speaker. He laughed, but that’s what we put in the old corporate notes for 2011. Anyway, we were there to talk to him a little about the Women’s Initiative that Walmart has launched to empower women’s businesses, a welcome opportunity for womenpreneurs.
Oh man, talk about a dream account, check out Kroger. For those of you who may not have a ‘Kroger’ grocery in your neighborhood, you may know them as Peytons, Dillons, Pay Less, Fred Meyer, Scott’s Food, Ralph’s, King Sooper, Owen’s – the list goes on. They operate more than 2,700 grocery stores coast to coast…and we can call on all of them in Cincinnati. It turns out people buy a lot of birding stuff in grocery stores because for many bird lovers, bird seed is a staple, like bread, so what better time/place to pick it up than when you’re shopping for your own food? The people we call on and work with at Kroger are just the best and have been very supportive of our company and our mission to keep people working in America.