Competing With Giants For 40 Years: Forest City Surplus Canada

Forest City Surplus, a small Canadian business, has succeeded in the battle of the Big Box for 40 years by offering low prices and personal service. The store is an entrepreneurial success story, a local David winning against international Goliaths with deep pockets.

Forest City Surplus Canada celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The store has grown from a 3,500 sq. ft. space to a 12,000 sq. ft. store with a tactical room that houses a huge selection of tactical gear and equipment. Customers can also browse the online catalog for products across categories that include audio and video, bags and backpacks, camping gear, airsoft and BB guns, electronic products, computers, household appliances, and much more.

Forest City Surplus was one of the first retailers in Canada to establish an online presence back in 1997. It has around 4,300 products for sale online, and 14,000 items in its retail store. The store traces its success to keen sourcing skills and fast personal service that have given it a loyal clientele and plenty of word-of-mouth references. According to sources, the company has grown from two employees in 1980 to thirty employees at present. Some of the staff have met their sweethearts at the store, married, and begun families. Some have even been with the store for two decades with managers benefiting from the profit-sharing plan.

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Tim Hodges of Forest City Surplus Canada said, “In 1980, Forest City Surplus opened as a small store on Dundas Street in London, Ontario. Robert Reeve, a former Western University student majoring in engineering, became the manager. He soon became intrigued by the world of entrepreneurship, becoming a business partner and, eventually, full owner of the business.

As the years progressed, his network of surplus contacts across Canada and the US continually grew. He learned new strategies for buying up factory-serviced products, off-lease corporate computer equipment, government military surplus, and surplus inventories from chain stores. He also discovered underserved niche markets in the areas of hiking and camping gear, airsoft, and paintball equipment. Right now, for example, the store carries 64 different types of backpacks, from discount models to high-end daypacks.”

On the company’s products for airsoft lovers, Hodges said, “Since 2009, the airsoft inventory has also grown from a few items to a whole tactical room, offering the widest selection of airsoft in Southwestern Ontario, plus an indoor shooting range for demonstrations and target competitions such as the Father’s Day Target Shoot. Personal service from airsoft experts is another advantage over the Big Box.

Survival supplies became another specialty over the years, with survivalists and preppers seeking out military rations, freeze-dried food, wilderness survival kits, and emergency supplies. Demand for those products has skyrocketed recently, leading to Forest City Surplus being featured in local and national news stories for the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC).”

This small business has not just survived competition from the big stores, but actually thrived and grown. It is a homegrown success story, an inspiration for future London entrepreneurs.

Contact and location information are available at Forest City Surplus Canada

Contact Info:
Name: Tim Hodges
Email: Send Email
Organization: Forest City Surplus Canada
Address: 1712 Dundas St, London, ON N5W 3E1
Phone: 1 (519) 451-0246

Release ID: 88962521