John Thomson & Son Furniture in Fergus ON is a shining example of how unequalled customer service in combination with great selection and product quality can mean continued success for any business.
John Thomson Sr immigrated from Scotland to Fergus in 1839 and founded his business in 1872. The company changed hands throughout the generations, always being passed down through the family, and they are now the oldest fifth generation furniture store in Canada. It’s quite rare that a small business makes it to the fifth generation, and only 3% make it to the fourth generation in all categories of business, making the success of this small-town company even more exceptional. I had the pleasure of interviewing Neil Johnston, whose maternal great-great grandfather was the founder of the family business.
“When times change you have to change with the times” says Neil. “Our business has been faced with many challenges over generations. We have survived the great depression, two world wars, and most recently a global pandemic. Building strong customer relationships and providing the best service not only during but after their purchase is the key to long term success. I am fortunate to have been related to, and to have worked closely with Mary Thomson. She was someone with true integrity and conviction in all aspects of her life. One thing she always conveyed was how important it is to be a person of your word. There must always be a high level of trust in doing business with your clients. I think we have carried this core value forward throughout the business. Each time the family business has changed hands the message has always been consistent – be a man or woman of your word, deliver more than you promise, and you will always be successful in business”.
Their vision to fulfill customer satisfaction has always been with a focus on competitively selling “Made in Canada” quality furniture. “We really work at establishing trust and loyalty through a firm, everyday low price along with manufacturer promotions. We offer free delivery in our vast delivery area, set-up and removal of any old items being replaced by the purchase. We give special attention to deliveries, to ensure they arrive at the customer’s home in perfect condition and that the customer is completely satisfied”, says Neil.
Although the COVID pandemic most definitely affected their business, it has also brought to the forefront some trends that are positively shaping the future of the furniture industry. More consumer awareness of the benefits and importance of not only shopping local but also wherever possible, buying quality product made right here in Canada. Some of these trends include:
There has long been a focus on inexpensive “furniture in a box” purchased from offshore suppliers, however this seems to be changing – even amongst the younger generation of consumers. The move towards “heirloom pieces” and longer lasting, better- quality furniture that will stand the test of time is more evident than ever.
There is inherent value to buying Canadian, and to supporting our local communities and artisans. Buying Canadian supports job growth, economic success and self-sufficiency during international crisis and market changes. Buying local means more local employment opportunities and successful businesses, which creates thriving, growing small town environments steeped in tradition. This in turn attracts new residents and businesses, and it encourages younger families to move to these growing communities with the expectation of an improved quality of life.
Designated Office Spaces
With so many people now working from home, the move towards designated office spaces has created high demand for office furniture. Executive office setups, student work centers and areas with shared workspaces have been hot commodities for the past 18 months, and it is not likely we will see this change any time soon. As many businesses make the decision to move some or in some cases all of their staff into permanent, remote work environments, there is no doubt we will continue to see the high demand for office furniture continue.
It’s Only Natural
Although good quality wood furniture tends to come and go with style and décor trends, it is certainly back with a vengeance. From contemporary to traditional, rustic country to mid-century modern – anything goes. Natural wood in particular seems to be getting some attention, with a focus on using an assortment of accessories and textiles to achieve an eclectic, modern look of “old meets new”.
Boutique Furniture Companies
Companies like John Thomson & Son Furniture that provide good quality products and even better customer service are becoming the preferred way to shop. Particularly in this age of social distancing and public safety protocols, “boutique style” stores that offer a more pleasant, consumer-oriented experience has become the preferred way to shop. Staffed with people with years of design experience and product knowledge, buyers can make more informed decisions about their purchases, in a clean, safe, smaller environment.
Longevity in business is the holy grail of every aspiring entrepreneur. Being able to achieve it can only be realized through hard work and dedication in everything you do. John Thomson & Son Furniture has managed not only to achieve this, but to excel at it. With current and future store renovations planned, a robust website, and an ever-expanding range of products to suit any taste or budget, their long-term success will certainly stand the test of time. Their commitment to their company mandate at all levels has led the way to their continued success. Trends may come and go, but good quality products and customer service at the highest level will never go out of style.
John Thomson & Son Furniture features a great selection of living room, bedroom, dining room, home office, entertainment, accent, furniture, and mattresses, and can help you with your home design and decorating ideas. Thomson’s Furniture offers Canadian made great quality furniture, at a low EVERYDAY price to the Fergus, Elora, Arthur, Mount Forest, Owen Sound, Grand Valley, Shelburne, Erin, Orangeville, Acton, Caledon, Brampton, Mississauga, Toronto, Oakville, Milton, Guelph, Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge areas.
John Thomson & Son Furniture, 157 St. Andrew Street West, Fergus ON
Written by: Tanya Bottomley