V&S stores trace their roots in Canada back to the founding of Stedmans in eastern Canada.
Stedmans was founded in 1907 by 3 brothers, Samuel, Edward and George Stedman in Brantford, ON. The business of selling and distributing greeting cards gave way to the opening of a book and stationery store. Over the years, the commitment to providing competitive prices, dependable quality and personal service saw Stedmans stores evolve into a very successful variety oriented provider.
Stedmans, together with the Macleods chain founded in western Canada in 1917, became officially known as Macleod-Stedman Inc. in 1964.
In the United States, Cotter & Company opened in January of 1948 with 25 retail members and by 1991 had annual sales exceeding $2.3 billion. Stores served by Cotter & Company used the V&S Variety name for their department/variety stores in the United States.
In 1992, Cotter & Company assisted Canadian Macleods and Stedmans dealers in forming Cotter Canada, a Canadian cooperative owned by individual members. With its head office located in Winnipeg, MB, it is home to approximately 350 full-time and part-time employees, with a office and distribution centre of over 400,000 sq. ft. In 1992, at the same time as Cotter Canada was formed, Stedmans stores across Canada began using the V&S name.
Following the name change in the US from Cotter & Company to TruServ Corporation in 1997, Cotter Canada followed suit in June 1999 and changed its name to TruServ Canada Cooperative Inc.
In October, 2001, the Canadian members became the sole shareholders of TruServ Canada Cooperative Inc. The cooperative continues to maintain an association with TruServ Corporation in the United States.
Dealers with TruServ Canada (comprising TRU Hardware,TRU Building Centres,and V&S stores) has increased from 264 members in 1992 to over 725 across Canada today.
Typical of a company with such a long history in Canada, many of our dealers also have long histories in their communities.
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