Renin Canada Corp
Founded in the 1960s, Renin Canada Corp. is a market-leading manufacturer of home products, including room-dividing systems, closet doors and organizers, wall décor and glass enclosure products. Based in Brampton, Ontario, Renin sells its products under a number of brand names, including Erias, DSH, Acme, Reliabilt, KingStar, TRUporte, Ramtrack and JJ Home Products.
With manufacturing and distribution facilities in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., Renin serves customers around the globe with innovative, industry-leading products delivered through a diversified distribution network that includes big-box stores, home improvement centers, original equipment manufacturers, homebuilders and specialty retail outlets.
“We are a one-stop shop when it comes to barn door-style sliding doors, room dividing systems, closet doors and organizers, glass enclosures and wall décor products,” says Shawn Pearson, president and CEO of Renin. While Renin has carved out a solid reputation at the top of the home products market over the last 50 years, the recent hiring of Pearson points to the larger ambitions of Renin’s parent company BBX Capital, which acquired the company in 2013.
“We want to be known as the design interiors solutions company instead of just being a hardware or door company,” says Pearson, who joined Renin in the summer of 2015 after 13 years with Danby Products Ltd., North America’s largest producer of compact appliances.
From the moment he stepped through the door and took the top position at Renin, Pearson’s focus has been on improving teamwork, a task that the former Toronto Blue Jays prospect relishes.
“The opportunity to come here and build a high-performance team focused on growth and to help refocus and restructure this business for success into the future — that’s what drives and excites me,” he says. “I classify myself as a transformational leader and one that likes to build winning teams.”
From outfield to corner office
While Pearson does not come from a background in home décor products, he says that his unique outside perspective stands to benefit the company as it eyes future growth and diversification. “I didn’t have any formal experience with Renin or this particular industry, but I understood what markets they were in and felt like there was an opportunity to have a different view of how the business should run and what products they should be looking at,” he says.
To that end, Pearson is looking to extend the company’s geographical reach south of the border into Mexico and Latin America as well as placing an increased focus on the hospitality market. “A lot of the new products we are bringing into the market will be solutions for the hospitality channel,” he says. “We are working on providing them with room-dividing systems, complete closet solutions and wall décor products.”
Hospitality holds significant growth potential for Renin as the industry continues to bounce back from the recent recession. “There’s a lot of investment in that market and you’re seeing some of the major hotels doing renovations,” Pearson comments. “We’re working with designers and architects that work very closely with the hotel industry because we feel there is an opportunity for our products to compliment that segment of the market.”
“I think this will be the biggest growth opportunity for us moving forward,” he adds. “The designers and architects are planning projects two to three years in advance, so we have to work with them on the trends to help us tailor our new product development pipeline to meet the needs of the customers.”
Recent industry trends include sliding, across-the-wall, barn-style doors and room-dividing systems. “That’s where we’re spending our time on new product development,” Pearson elaborates.
Renin has also seen recent growth in the Greater Toronto condominium market and the company is looking to cater to future projects through its JJ Home Products division. “JJ Home Products focuses on the Greater Toronto area high-rise and low-rise market with room dividing systems, framed and frameless glass showers as well as closet door systems and organizers,” says Pearson.
The retail side of the business is also poised to grow exponentially with an increased focus on deepening the company’s current strategic partnerships with big-box retailers, such as Lowe’s, Home Depot and Home Hardware. Renin will continue to develop uniquely designed programs and exclusive products to help its retail partners grow their business profitably in their defined channels of distribution. The company is also in the process of analyzing opportunities to expand its reach to nontraditional and online retailers in 2016. “We have strong relationships with our retail customers, and I’m excited about the direction we are going within this segment of the market,” notes Pearson.
Growth in tough times
Renin self-performs almost all of its own work and relies on trusted local partners for the rest, allowing the company to quickly react to industry trends and ensure a high standard of quality on every project. “Part of the value proposition we have as a domestic manufacturer is speed to market and quality,” says Pearson. “We can anticipate very quickly when there are trends in sight and ramp up manufacturing.”
“We can supplement some of our product offerings with global sourcing, but at the end of the day we must make sure our customers stay in stock and we can do that with a domestic supply,” he adds.
The economic downturn took its toll on Renin, but Pearson credits the former management team with keeping the company afloat during that tumultuous time. The hiring of Pearson itself was a statement of intent from BBX Capital, which valued the former professional baseball player’s commitment to growth and development.
“I’m a growth monger, not a slash-and-cut CEO, and that’s what the owners were looking for; they wanted somebody to take this team and show them how to win and grow quickly,” he says.
The boardroom might seem a far cry from the outfield, but Pearson’s background in sports allows him to bring a unique perspective to the industry. “There are lots of synergies between high-performance sports teams and high-performance business teams and the same principles apply: setting high standards, being prepared every day to bring your ‘A’ game, and have perseverance to win,” Pearson says. “Teams that win in this or any other competitive environment have those attributes and are customer-obsessed.”
The expansion into Mexico is the next big thing on the horizon for Renin, followed by the U.S. hospitality market and finally the do-it-yourself markets, which are full of potential, according to Pearson. “We’re cautiously optimistic about our current distribution channels and excited about the new channels we are targeting,” he says. “We have to be customer-obsessed and focused on making continuous improvements, both in process and new products, to drive our business to new heights.”
Strong, innovative leadership and ownership, industry-leading products and promising market trends are sure to keep Renin Canada Corp. opening doors to new opportunities well into the future.