Service is still the key
Much has changed since the Ranger family got into the furniture business five decades ago. However, there is one constant. “Service is the name of the game,” says Stéphane Ranger, owner of the Brand Source Home Furnishings store in Alexandria. “Customer service is the reason we are still here. The customer is not a number. The customer is a name, a face, a neighbour.”
His father, Marcel, started out as a TV repairman in 1958, during the era when sets still had picture tubes.
After furniture manufacturers encouraged him to start selling their products, Marcel TV & Furniture opened its doors in 1965.
At the time, there were five furniture outlets in town. “Today, we are the only one left,” observes Stéphane Ranger, recalling that he has been helping out at the store for most of his life.
“When I was 6, I would travel with the delivery man and when I got my driver’s licence, I would make pick-ups in Montreal,“he recalls.
“Trends come and go. Colours and styles change. It is sort of like a wheel that goes around. For example, we had the advent of stainless steel, front-load washers and induction cooking. But at the same time, there are some products that were popular 40 years ago that would still be in fashion today.”
Outside competition is not detrimental, even though there are some people who will travel as far away as Toronto to find what they think is a bargain.
Five employees work at the store; clientele comes from within a 40-kilometre radius of Alexandria. “At the end of the day because I am part of a national chain, I can get just about anything at a competitive price,” observes Mr. Ranger.
In his line, virtual shopping does not cut it. “When people are buying home furnishings, they want to come in and touch and feel the products.”
A strong advocate of shopping locally, Mr. Ranger comments, “I am a big proponent of following the dollar and seeing how it leads to other benefits. The money that is spent in our community usually stays in our community.”
TRADITION: Stéphane Ranger has followed in his father’s footsteps.