When the discussion of a Canadian-themed issue came about, I wasn’t sure if it was my novice side rearing its head or if I was actually onto something. The idea was sparked by a conversation I had with a Canadian retailer at one of last year’s Dallas markets. I walked away thinking, “I just must not understand this because I’m still a lighting newbie.”
But alas, that was not the case, and Publisher/Editorial Director Laura Van Zeyl let me take the reins on this project. Turns out, although they work pretty cohesively together, the Canadian and American sides of the lighting market are distinct. Distinct enough, we think, to warrant some special attention.
Some highlights? The Canadian government, for instance, passes its own lighting legislation (i.e. incandescent bulb “bans”) that may mirror what’s happening in the United States somewhat, but it’s not the same. Or, in many cases, Canadian retailers are required to pay markedly more for the products that their American counterparts also offer. Even Canadian consumers’ taste in lighting deviates from the typical transitional style that satisfies a big part of the United States, creating a more modern market than we may acknowledge.
All of the research that went into this issue was a truly valuable experience for everyone on our team. Not only did I realize my own degree of ignorance when it came to Canada as a part of the lighting industry, I’m also ashamed to say my knowledge of Canada in general was lacking. But not anymore.
As I was making phone calls and sending e-mails for our stories, I tried to speak to as geographically diverse of a mix of retailers as possible to get a feel for Canada that was representative. It turns out that much of the feedback I got, however, matched up. And maybe not surprisingly, some of it did not strictly pertain to Canadian showroom owners. Sure, there are differences in laws and codes and costs and style and, well, a lot of things … but there are also topics like navigating the brick-and-mortar world amidst the age of online shopping that are truly universal areas of uncertainty.
We tried to touch on an array of material that could be useful to our Canadian cohorts. And to our American readers: We hope that you learn a little something you didn’t know about your peers to the North. We must include a disclaimer, too — be gentle. This is our first time — the first time for any industry publication, as a matter of fact — taking on this subject matter, and while we tried our absolute best, I’m sure there’s more we could have covered. Your feedback is important to us, because truly we’re here to serve you with information that is interesting, accurate and, most of all, helpful to you as a retailer and member of this industry, whichever country your customers call home.