With over 95 locations across Canada, Great Canadian Dollar Store has experienced tremendous growth since its founding in 1993 by Bud Walker and Vivian Walker of British Columbia. The business, which focuses on the retail of low-cost merchandise, held fast even in times of financial downturn, but the owners decided it was time for a change and approached Kevin Kane about purchasing the business last June at a buying show.
The Kanes became interested in dollar stores back in the 1990s, when Kevin Kane managed a local Sobey’s and Jane Kane worked as a teacher. Jane, always on the lookout for bargains, impressed Kevin with the merchandise she managed to find for low prices at dollar stores. This lead Kevin to research area chains for an opportunity, and the couple decided to go with the Great Canadian Dollar Store franchise, opening their first location in Quispamsis in 1997.
Since then, the Kanes have become the recognizable faces of the Great Canadian Dollar Store company in the east, opening a total of 30 locations across New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The husband-and-wife team owned the most locations out of all Great Canadian Dollar Store franchisees, with the second-biggest owner coming in at 10 outlets.
Currently, according to Kevin Kane, there are no plans to move the offices out of Victoria, and President Gerry Russ and the current staff will continue to be based out of that location. Most of the current franchise locations are in British Columbia, Alberta and the Atlantic Canada region, so the Kanes' focus is on bringing the Great Canadian Dollar Store farther up on the national scale.
Kevin and Jane's eyes are on expansion for the business, particularly in Ontario. There are only five locations in that province, and Kevin sees the area as a great growth opportunity. The new owners are planning to increase the location total from 95 to 100 before the end of this year. Franchisees with the Great Canadian Dollar Store get the right to use the recognizable name, training systems and the prices negotiated by the Victoria office staff with the suppliers. Store owners determine which products to carry, so they can customize their location to their patrons' needs.