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This article was published 11/9/2018 (571 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Canada Goose loves making its iconic $1,000 parkas in Winnipeg.
And to announce its third manufacturing plant here — which will bring its total Winnipeg workforce up to 1,700 in three years — it got no less than the prime minister of Canada to help open it.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took selfies with the mostly female workers at the plant, whose numbers are already up to 230. There was a collective swoon when he hugged one of them.
"These are the kind of companies we want to see grow and succeed in Canada," Trudeau said. "Companies that value their employees and create better opportunities for working people to get ahead today and well into the future."
The Canada Goose facilities in Winnipeg — there are now two across the street from each other on Mountain Avenue and another in the West End — are clean and bright and feature state-of-the-art processes.
Dani Reiss, the CEO of the Toronto-based company, said innovations that have been developed in Winnipeg are now also being implemented in its Toronto plants.
"We do love it in Winnipeg," he said. "It is totally working for us. We’re proud to be investing in rebuilding the apparel sector in Canada. And Winnipeg is a traditional hotbed of that industry, so it’s a great place to come to rebuild it."
Reiss takes every opportunity to wave the Canadian flag and believes that manufacturing in Canada is something more Canadian companies should be doing.
"Made in Canada isn’t a slogan for Canada Goose — our commitment to growing production capacity in Canada is stronger than ever," he said. "We are proud of our role in creating manufacturing jobs in Canada and to be doing it in Winnipeg, a city we are privileged to call home."
Canada Goose did not receive any financial assistance from the federal government to help set up the $15.8-million facility, but it will get up to $1.48 million from the province to help train sewing machine operators and supervisors over three years in a program that has already been successful in graduating and hiring 750 workers for the company’s two other operations in the city.
Premier Brian Pallister said, "Canada Goose’s continued expansion in our province is proof we have the right conditions here in Manitoba for businesses to grow and compete in the global market. We are competing for investments and succeeding. With our talented workforce and abundant supply of clean, renewable energy, we are showing Canada and the world that Manitoba is once again open for business."
In partnership with Opportunities for Employment, training courses have been developed and many new Canadians come right out of the program and are ensured good, stable jobs.
Along with the prime minister and premier, Mayor Brian Bowman was also on hand for the opening.
"This is about job creation in Winnipeg," Bowman said. "This is an incredibly diverse workforce (at Canada Goose) and we want to continue to support that. We are attracting newcomers from all parts of the world and they need jobs, we need jobs for Winnipeggers and our kids... and these are well-paid jobs."
The outerwear being made at the new plant will be exported to 38 countries around the world. In the past year and a half, the company has started building its own stores in high-end shopping districts, starting first in Toronto and New York and then expanding to London, Boston, Chicago, Calgary and Tokyo. It plans to open three more this fall in Short Hills, N.J., Montreal and Vancouver.
As well, the company just opened an office and e-commerce operations in China with plans to put up stores in Beijing and Hong Kong.
"We are super excited to have Canadian flagship stores in Beijing and Hong Kong," Reiss said. "Every market is different. It will be an exciting and interesting experience in China. We’re pumped."
In addition to the new stores, the company has successfully launched e-commerce operations around the world. Its direct-to-consumer business accounted for 43 per cent of its total sales in the past fiscal year ending March 31, up from 29 per cent in the prior year.
The 128,000-square-foot plant will be the largest of the company’s seven production facilities in the country. Canada Goose already had about 1,000 workers in the city and plans to add another 700 over the next three years at the new plant. Winnipeg now accounts for more than one-third of the company’s 3,000-plus total employees.
Last year, revenue at Canada Goose increased almost 50 per cent to $591.2 million. The company went public in March 2017, raising about US$250 million in an initial public offering of shares. Since then, the share price is up 362 per cent.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.
Updated on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 6:20 AM CDT: Final