Delta-based retailer continues to focus on serving rural Canadians
Langley, B.C. – FIELDS, a mainstay retailer across Western Canada, has announced a $3.5 million partnership with Langley-based First West Capital. Through what has been a turbulent time for some Canadian retailers, FIELDS has remained successful by staying true to its roots – providing small-town customers with a range of fashion, household and grocery items. With the help of First West Capital, FIELDS will continue its legacy of serving the communities it operates in while identifying new markets for expansion.
As more big-box retailers expand across the country, many home-grown retailers are finding it difficult to compete and are closing their doors for good. “Initially it’s exciting for small towns to have access to big international retailers, but it can really gut the downtown of a small community,” says Jason McDougall, president and CEO of FIELDS.
To combat the big box stores’ allure, FIELDS’ mandate is to help their customers live a better life for less by providing well-priced, everyday items locally and ingraining itself into the fabric of the community. Growing up in small-town Saskatchewan, McDougall understands the positive impact that local stores have on a community. “We want towns to be better because we are there,” he says. “We talk to local mayors, MLAs, customers and residents to better understand what we can be doing to support the needs of our communities, which can range from adding items to our inventory to sponsoring local initiatives.”
“Our partnership with First West Capital is a significant step towards making FIELDS available to more small communities, increasing inventory and developing stronger vendor relations,” says McDougall. “The funds from First West Capital give us the ability to reach more markets and continue focusing on serving a huge customer base that doesn’t get enough attention or respect.”
“Jason and the entire leadership team at FIELDS have a profound passion for their business,” says First West Capital vice-president, Kristi Miller. “We are confident in FIELDS’ ongoing success based on their experience and long history in the Canadian retail landscape, and we are thrilled to help them expand and continue to serve the needs of smaller communities across Western Canada.”
Once owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company, the 62-location chain intends to eventually expand nationwide and even has plans to develop an online presence. FIELDS recently introduced several well-known clothing brands to cater to their fashion-conscious customers, resulting in an increase in sales. “I think people are surprised at the brands we carry – all at very reasonable prices,” adds McDougall.
FIELDS required a financing partner who supported their vision and valued creating a long term, win-win solution. “I was introduced to Kristi many years ago and when the opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance to finally partner with her and the team at First West Capital,” says McDougall. “Kristi is sharp and thorough and invested the time required to understand our business. In addition, her strong relationship with our senior lender greatly simplified the process. I would recommend giving them a call if you are a business looking for a financing partner that is both collaborative and knowledgeable.”
“There are very few retailers in Canada serving the small town retail market as capably as FIELDS. They are unique in their commitment to community improvement and providing great value on everyday items, which resonates with customers looking to save money and skip a long drive to the nearest city,” says Miller.
McDougall reiterates the importance of having partners who support his objectives, ”It’s a pleasure working with First West Capital – there is great synergy with Kristi and the team and their expertise has allowed us to execute our business plans. Canadians can look forward to shopping at FIELDS for at least another 66 years.”
FIELDS is a Canadian-owned and operated retailer specializing in providing general merchandise to small towns across Western Canada. With 62 locations, FIELDS has been proudly serving communities since 1948 and helping their customers live a better life for less. Since 2012, FIELDS has been under new management and continues to focus on becoming the leading small town value merchant throughout rural Canada. For more information please visit www.fields.ca.
About First West Capital
First West Capital specializes in financing small and medium-sized businesses, with funding ranging from $0.5 million to $10 million, across all industries in Western Canada and Ontario through customized subordinated loans and mezzanine financing. With a collaborative and partner-focused approach, we help clients finance expansion, acquisitions, MBO and shareholder buyouts, and high ratio real estate. www.firstwestcapital.ca