Stanson to enter Canada

Stanson, a household cleaning products manufacturer specializing in private label and value brands, is coming to Canada.In the next few weeks, the South Kearny, n.j.-based firm will begin shipping its Maxx line of products to its newly signed Canadian distributor, Top...

Stanson, a household cleaning products manufacturer specializing in private label and value brands, is coming to Canada.

In the next few weeks, the South Kearny, n.j.-based firm will begin shipping its Maxx line of products to its newly signed Canadian distributor, Top Star International Foods.

Farshid Missaghi, vice-president of marketing for Etobicoke, Ont.-based Top Star, says he has already inked distribution agreements with several large retailers and is holding discussions with several others.

About 30 Maxx products will be introduced to the market in such categories as bathroom cleaning, kitchen cleaning, floor care, laundry care and car care.

Among the retailers that have agreed to carry the brand are Price/Coscto Canada, Provigo and No Frills, which is a member of the National Grocers stable of supermarket chains.

Indicated interest

Missaghi says Oshawa Foods, Bi-Way, A Buck-or-Two! and Bargain Shop have also indicated interest.

In the u.s., Maxx, which was launched two-and-a-half years ago, is positioned as a substitute house brand.

Jack Honchar, Stanson’s brand manger on Maxx, says most of the retailers that carry Maxx do not have private brands of their own, so Maxx fills the void.

Stanson, which was formed in 1947, does the bulk of its business as a supplier of private label products to retail chains.

It also makes a second line of substitute private label products under the Stanzel banner.

Honchar says Maxx is able to compete on price with the value-priced private label brands sold by major retailers because it is offered on a ‘net-net pricing arrangement.’

He says what this means is Stanson does not offer promotional allowances or other purchase incentives to the retail trade because the cost of the programs eventually winds up being paid by the consumer.

Similarly, he says, Stanson does not back Maxx with advertising because that, too, would lead to a higher price at the cash register.

Substitute

In Canada, Top Star is positioning the brand as a substitute private label line, but it will also seek to build Maxx into a national brand name.

Honchar says Stanson has agreed to supply Top Star with funds for brand advertising, although he says the specific amount is still being discussed.

Missaghi says he has yet to begin searching for an ad agency to handle brand advertising, but hopes to get started soon.

No agency yet

‘We just got the brand, we haven’t got to the stage of finding an agency yet,’ Missaghi says.

Honchar, who was in Toronto two weeks ago attending Grocery Showcase Canada, the annual trade show held by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, says he sees Canada as a growth opportunity.

In addition to bringing Maxx into the market, the firm has also begun talking with retailers about supplying them with products for their existing private label lines.

‘I’ve already spoken to several, but I don’t want my competition to know so I’m not telling you,’ Honchar says.