Ser­vice is still the key

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

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.

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