Club Biz expands into Ontario

Positioning itself as an intelligent store selling food for the mind, Montreal-based warehouse chain Club Biz is breaking into the Ontario market with the opening of an outlet in Mississauga on Oct. 19.To reinforce that positioning, a caricature of Albert Einstein...

Positioning itself as an intelligent store selling food for the mind, Montreal-based warehouse chain Club Biz is breaking into the Ontario market with the opening of an outlet in Mississauga on Oct. 19.

To reinforce that positioning, a caricature of Albert Einstein that has been a trademark of the Quebec advertising will also be used in all English-language communications.

Themeline

Accompanying it will be the themeline, ‘The Warehouse That Literally Blows Your Mind.’

The 40,000-square-foot ‘category killer’ will be selling 65,000 different products in the areas of office supplies, furniture and electronics; art supplies, computer hardware and software; consumer electronics, books and music tapes and cds.

Shoppers will be offered a selection that includes 35,000 music titles, 2,000 software titles, and only top name brands of home electronics and computers in addition to virtual reality and multimedia entertainment products.

Depth of product selection will be the primary focus of Club Biz’s advertising efforts, and approaches used to consumer and business markets will be similar.

Four more Ontario stores are expected to open next year, two in the spring and two in the fall, all between 40,000 and 50,000 square feet.

With the new Mississauga store, Club Biz is also testing a new product mix, adding consumer electronics and music, two categories not carried in its five Quebec stores.

Two sound rooms will allow shoppers to listen to tapes and cds, and there will be a demonstration home theatre room putting the spotlight on the latest in home entertainment.

Products will be added

If the test is successful, those products will be added to the mix in existing stores.

While u.s.-based warehouse chain Price Club/Costco carries the same range of products as Club Biz, the width and depth of the store’s selection makes its real competitors chains specializing in individual categories such as Future Shop, Aventure Electronics (formerly Majestic), A-Plus Software, Grand & Toy, Business Depot, Smithbooks, Coles, HMV Music and Sam the Record Man.

Anyone can shop at Club Biz, but those individuals or companies that take out a free membership get additional 5% discounts when presenting their card.

In Quebec, three-year-old Club Biz has more than 300,000 members.

Because of the different category mix, members are predominantly businesses with 20 employees or less.

Campbell & Michener

LG2 (Labarre Gauthier Gamache) of Montreal, Club Biz agency-of-record, has brought Campbell & Michener of Toronto in as its English-language affiliate for the Ontario launch.

Advertising was developed by the team of Raymond Lee, Campbell & Michener and Paul Gauthier of LG2.

Print ads will appear in daily and weekly newspapers and business publications, in addition to radio spots, flyers, direct mail and in-store material.

Montreal-based Strategem handles media buying for Club Biz, while Campbell & Michener associate MarketLink Communications takes care of public relations.

Club Biz is owned and operated by Cleman, Ludmer Steinberg, which is headed by Irving Ludmer, former vice-president and director of Steinberg, and H. Arnold Steinberg, former Steinberg vice-president of finance and development.