Mark’s Wearhouse: well worn
Last Updated on April 28, 2019
Founded in 1977 by Mark Blumes, Mark’s Wearhouse, known as l’Équipeur in Québec, has 376 stores across Canada and is a member of the Canadian Tire Family of Companies.
Originally named, Mark’s Work Wearhouse, the name was changed to Mark’s and its products moved from industrial and blue-collar work wear to men’s and women’s casual wear. But, Mark’s rugged, industrial work clothing, such as coveralls, steel-toed boots and fleece-lined flannels are still a big and important part of their inventory.
Offering everything from industrial and casual apparel, footwear and accessories, Mark’s products are designed to be comfortable and long-wearing. For those who like to live life with passion, Mark’s products are designed to last.
About Mark Blume
Before he founded Mark’s Work Wearhouse, Mark Blume worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company. He became very frustrated with the way his employer (in his opinion) mishandled the work-wear department. Mark was anti-establishment, just not a corporate guy, and that got him fired from Hudson’s Bay. That didn’t get Mark down, it inspired him to open his own store. So, with his $27,000 severance pay in his pocket, he opened his first Mark’s Work Wearhouse. He predicted that he would do $600,000 in sales in the first year, but the store made that in the first six months. In no time, Mark’s Work Wearhouse was enjoying annual sales of $1.5 million.
The company expanded quickly, too quickly, in fact. While every store was a huge success, and there was enough money in the bank, Mark’s
didn’t have the systems in place that would allow them to pay the bills. In 1981, Mark want the company to go public, however, the offer was conditional on him taking on a full-time Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Despite his reservations about working alongside his “bombastic” brother, it was an offer Mark couldn’t refuse, so he hired his brother, Moe Blume. The brothers worked together throughout a very rocky period that eventually lead to their complete estrangement in the 1990’s and up to Mark’s death in 2002.
Despite the years of ill will between the brothers, Moe admits the company’s successes are built on the merchandising principles created by Mark.
On November 17, 2002, Mark Blumes had knee surgery at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Alberta. He passed away two weeks later, bankrupt.
Had the brothers stayed together, they would have had more than $36 million. It was sold to Canadian Tire Corporation for $116 million. Moe’s remaining stock netted him a payout of $300,000.
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