Putting customers first for five generations

When Mark and Lewis Samuel opened their first hardware shop back in 1855, they had no way of knowing their little business would one day become a 160-year-old operation spanning five generations and multiple countries. All they knew was that the residents of Toronto were in desperate need of hardware products—and they were going to do what they could to deliver them.

This commitment to customer service, combined with the brothers’ reputation for honesty and integrity, is essentially what allowed the company to overcome the barriers of multigenerational success. They embedded these values into their small hardware shop and used them to guide their business decisions as they moved forward.


A different way of thinking

Over the years, this mandate has earned the name the ‘Samuel Way’. It’s a unique method of doing business that prioritizes integrity, respect and the evolving needs of customers and suppliers. It also dictates how Samuel evaluates potential partners—giving preference to those who understand the competitive potential of collaborative supply chain relationships.

The Samuel Way has allowed the company to maintain a set of consistent business standards throughout its lifespan, and generations of Samuels have credited it for the company’s success. For instance, it was this mantra that allowed the original Samuels to fearlessly expand from retail into metal imports/exports early in the business’s life. It was also the reasoning behind Ernest Samuel’s decision in 1963 to take a calculated risk and expand into the manufacturing space. And as the company evolved through the latter part of the 20th century and into the 21st, it was the driving force behind countless acquisitions that helped the company enhance and expand its level of customer service.


A moral compass

The Samuel Way encouraged the company to seek out the right products and services for its customers, while taking a conservative approach to investment. But it also fostered a healthy respect for the long-term business picture—a large reason behind the company’s decision to remain family-run, even as its competitors went public.

It’s a long-held Samuel belief that public companies tend to encourage strategic thinking that is typically short-sighted, while family ownership creates room for a broader, longer-term view of the market. When you have a chance to look beyond the next quarter, you can more easily anticipate future opportunities—and the necessary investments required to seize them.

Being 100 percent family owned also allows for a personal connection to the business, which inevitably trickles down to your relationships with business partners, suppliers and employees. When you see people as people—rather than third-party businesses or assets—relationships naturally develop over time, and you begin to build your internal and external goals around them.

Externally, for instance, you treat a customer differently when you’re building a decades-long relationship rather than simply fulfilling a transaction. Similarly, you’re going to make more prudent business decisions, and be more aware of your financial stability, when you have longstanding relationships with the employees and customers who count on your business’s survival.


Experience the difference

Needless to say, there are very few family-run companies still around from 1855—and Samuel takes great pride in that. Even though our business model has changed tremendously over the years, our commitment to our customers hasn’t.

Because we take a personal approach to business, our experienced consultants are in it for the long-haul, which means they’ll do what it takes to make sure you are supported and satisfied with your purchasing decisions.

To discover how you can benefit from the Samuel Way, contact us.