Lesson 4 : Grow within your means

Kenroc remained a Regina-only operation until the mid-1970s.
As the company’s resources permitted and opportunities arose, the company evolved and expanded into other key markets across Western Canada.
“Lots of companies would do five-year plans,” said Brian Kusisto, president of Kenroc and all its operating entities.
“We typically haven’t done five-year plans, but when we see an opportunity, we assess and analyze it very quickly and if it’s good, then we move on it and we are very good at executing on those opportunities.”
“Kenroc is what I would call conservative in nature,” said Brian McCormick, vice president of Kenroc.
“But one thing that is not conservative is our ability to adapt and execute in changing markets and changing economic times over the past 50 years.”
Over the years, 15 more locations have been opened. Saskatoon was the second, opening in 1976.
In the mid-1980s, when interest rates were in the double digits and many businesses struggled, Kenroc expanded. This was because of how Sexton ran the business in the 1960s and 1970s — by not borrowing money and reinvesting profits.
“We don’t know how blessed we are for the investment Ken made in the early days,” says Kusisto.
“His approach has always been that you don’t buy it until you can afford it. As a result, this company has never had debt issues.”
A third Kenroc location – this time in Winnipeg — opened in 1985.  That year, Kenroc and its customers also needed to be more competitive in pricing. The Sexton Group launched, creating a buying group to secure volume discounts for all its products.
A year later, stores opened in Calgary and Edmonton. A partnership in the highway trucking business began, allowing Kenroc to obtain product as quickly as needed.
Then, in 1994, Kenroc entered B.C., establishing branches in Burnaby and Langley. Three years later, another opened in Prince George.
Being in a position of financial strength meant Kenroc could act quickly. In 2005, it saw an opportunity in one of Western Canada’s hottest market. It learned on a Wednesday a business would be available, closed the deal by Friday, spent the weekend taking inventory, then opened Kenroc Fort McMurray on the following Monday.
In addition to opening new operations, Kenroc also invested in its existing operations with either new facilities or substantial improvements in existing operations in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Prince George and Red Deer in the past 10 years.
Kenroc also grew by gradually expanding its product mix. It was the first in Regina to carry innovative products such as steel stud and textured ceilings. In 2007, after four decades in the wall and ceiling business, Kenroc added roofing supplies to its mix.
Then, a location opened in Red Deer in 2009. In the spring of 2014, three more were added in Medicine Hat, Kamloops and Kelowna.
The 50th year in business will be marked by the opening of a new operation in greater Victoria on Vancouver Island, B.C.

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