Lessons from the Liquidation of Payless Shoe Store

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Payless Shoe Company has filed for bankruptcy and plans to liquidate its North American operations. While it’s easy to blame the failure of Payless on the emergence of e-commerce, and its effect on traditional retailer, that factor is only part of the equation. Many historic brands like recent Canada Post E-commerce Innovation Winner, Best Buy Canada, have proven that the internet is a land of opportunity rather than threats. A driving factor behind the downfall of Payless, is its refusal to adapt its business model when its point of difference, being the primary retailer for low cost shoes, was voided by this becoming common place in large retailers like Walmart, Winners, and Costco.

Another major factor that is easy to overlook was the hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of debt Payless took on to keep itself running and continue serving over 2000 stores around North America. This led to a massive increase in expenses due to the servicing of this debt (the principal + interest costs). The best way to avoid the added cost of servicing debt it to avoid taking on debt in the first place. While the temptation to gain a great deal of immediate capital is tempting, this capital needs to be invested wisely and cannot be used to merely keep a brand afloat or continuing with the same business plans of the past. This failure of Payless, shows the importance of streamlining operations and finding innovative ways of reducing capital costs before getting into financial trouble.

Crownhill Packaging understands this importance of preventing debt in the first place. There will always be a cost of protecting your products while ensuring they keep their appeal shown, but by working with a company who works with you as partner, and makes cost savings a high priority, you can ensure that your packaging needs are working efficiently. Crownhill achieves these cost savings by providing design solutions, reducing goods lost to damage, lowering material costs, improving inventory control, and streamlining processes.

There are many costs associated with transporting products that are of concern to retailers, the largest being dimensional (DIM) weight charges. These are minimum shipping costs that are calculated both by a package’s weight and the dimensions of the package itself. Crownhill helps reduce these DIM weight charges by finding the perfect balance of keeping a product protected and keeping the shipping package to a minimal size. By using lightweight materials and utilizing alternate packaging solutions such as bubble mailers, Crownhill ensures your packaging and shipping costs stay as low as possible.

As retailing continues to grow, ensure that your brand learns lessons from the failure of previous brands, and trusts the right suppliers for its supply chain needs.  

Crownhill Partners with Packaging Distributors of America to Participate in Digital Marketing Seminar

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As the digital age progresses to bring more of the world online and becomes more entrenched to those currently connected digitally, it’s becoming essential for marketers within the packaging industry to understand how to communicate effectively through the internet. Marketing has been evolving in the last decade, with companies who found little need for a marketer now finding it a key part of their lead and customer acquisition strategy.

Crownhill Packaging is a proud member the Packaging Distributors of America (PDA) and is very involved with the organization, as exemplified by Crownhill Vice President Ken Wong serving as PDA Chairman of the Board. This year, Crownhill continued its involvement, assisting the organization with its annual marketing seminar. Over the past two days, E-Commerce Business Manager Olivia Pietersen shared personal insights on how digital developments, marketing strategy, and software tools can assist companies in the packaging industry convey the value they provide.

Packaging is everywhere and is the unsung hero of the world where product convenience is key and home delivery through digital ordering is commonplace. To elevate it from this unsung status, marketers need to create a discussion about the effectiveness not only of product protection, but also customized labelling, distribution services, and many other products & services that Crownhill and other packaging distributors a part of the PDA network offer.

 The seminar also included providing participants with the resources they need to create long term marketing success. A marketing dictionary, digital checklists, a guide to online sources, and many more resources allows participants to explore the world of marketing themselves and tailor solutions to unique issues facing their enterprise.

Crownhill thanks Olivia Pietersen and Stephanie Roland of Twenty-Five Apart for their devotion to strengthening the PDA network and we are looking forward to participating in many more great seminars.

Congratulations to the impressive Winners of the 2018 Canada Post E-commerce Innovation Awards

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Photo of Director of Strategy and Operations, Marc Hyman, presenting the award for Best Omni-Channel Retailer- Large to Best Buy Canada

Canada Post created another masterpiece Gala this year at the Fairmont Royal York. The world of commerce operating in the digital sphere has continued to grow in 2018 and Crownhill Packaging is happy to be part of the Canada Post E-commerce Awards. This award shows appreciation to the movers and shakers in their respective industry, who are making the strategic decisions that matter. Canada Post has gathered experts from the Public, Social Networking, Technological, Accounting, and Academic sectors to judge the winners this year. These winners are awarded up to $150,000 worth of credits that can be used through Canada Post’s marketing services, to improve their already stellar E-commerce strategies.

Crownhill Packaging is pleased to present the Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award – Large’ to ‘Best Buy Canada’. Best Buy entered Canada during the era before the E-commerce explosion, but has quickly adapted to the digital world of commerce, creating an extensive online catalogue and focusing its marketing efforts on supporting digital promotions especially on Cyber Monday. By keeping its eyes peeled for online trends and utilizing the data available from its massive social media following the company has been able to gain great brand resonance among businesses and consumers alike.

The sponsorship of this award is dear to Crownhill Packaging, as we have had the pleasure of assisting many omni-channel retailers varying from startups to multinational corporations in providing full service packaging solutions. From corrugate shipping containers to custom foam and bubble cushioning, Crownhill has been able to protect products of all shapes and sizes, from the manufacturing centers to living rooms across Canada and United States.

Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award – Large (Sponsored by Crownhill Packaging)
Best Buy Canada

Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award – Small

Most Disruptive Start-Up Award

Best Marketing & Brand Engagement Award
Big Al’s

Pure Play of the Year Award – Large

Pure Play of the Year Award – Small

Social Impact Award
London Drugs

Canada Post E-commerce Innovator’s Award

Photo of this year’s winners. Courtesy of Canada Post.

Thank you to Canada Post for hosting a great Gala and for putting in the great time and effort it takes recognize these exceptional organizations. Congratulations to all winners, all of us at Crownhill can’t wait to see how these companies innovate in the coming year.

Crownhill Packaging Sponsors 2018 Canada Post E-commerce Innovation Awards

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The Canada Post E-commerce Awards have become a staple of Crownhill Packaging’s sponsorship efforts and we are proud to once again be a part of them in 2018.

Our sponsorship of the awards show enables a celebration of a year of organizations large and small, pioneering big ideas in the realm of e-commerce. From startups creating shockwaves throughout entire industries, to established players adapting to new realities and facing the challenges that come with them head on. These ideas come with great risks, and affect not only the companies that commit to them, but provide a valuable learning experience for many others that can apply what’s being done to their own strategic plans.
This year Crownhill Packaging is honored to be the sponsor of the ‘Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award- Large’ that recognizes corporate leaders who are committing to innovation in the e-commerce realm, utilizing their digital presence to support their brick-and-mortar stores and vice versa. Over the last year many large, historic retailers have suffered due to their resistance to the changing nature of retail itself, but these retailers have embraced change and used it to strengthen their brand position. This ability to adapt, and cohesion between the business of clicks and bricks, is a value Crownhill Packaging holds dear to its corporate identity. Crownhill has a continuing commitment to improving its digital presence, and utilizing technology in new and exciting ways.

These are the Categories and their respective Finalists for 2018.

Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award – Large (Sponsored by Crownhill Packaging)

  • Best Buy Canada
  • FGL Sports Ltd.
  • Indigo Books & Music
  • Mark’s
  • Staples Canada

Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award – Small

  • Big Al’s
  • Dunbar Cycles
  • iDrinkCoffee.com
  • Livestock
  • Ricardo Media

Pure Play of the Year Award – Large

  •  Jewlr
  • Manitobah Mukluks
  • Marché Goodfood
  • TSC – Today’s Shopping Choice• Well.ca

Pure Play of the Year Award – Small

  • Canadian Down & Feather
  • Momzelle
  • MUR Lifestyle
  • Parts Avatar
  • Kanevas

Best Marketing and Brand Experience Award

  • Big Al’s
  • Carnivore Club
  • Oatbox
  • TSC – Today’s Shopping Choice
  • Well.ca

Most Disruptive Start-Up Award

  • Desk Nibbles
  • Fun-In-The-Box
  • Kanevas
  • Loch
  • Mme L’Ovary

Social Impact Award

  • Aux P’tits Cadeaux Inc.
  •  Kotn
  •  London Drugs
  •  Manitobah Mukluks
  •  Running Room Canada

This year has a phenomenal amount of strategic talent from across over a dozen industries, being judged by professionals who are leaders in their respective field, from across the country.We’re looking forward to the Canada Post Awards Gala on September 20th where the winners will be announced at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

Best of luck to all nominees, and thank you for your efforts to make Canada a great place to do business.

Vice President Ken Wong Elevated to Chairman of the Board of the Packaging Distributors of America.

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It is with great honor to announce that Ken Wong has recently added to his list of accomplishments by becoming Chairman of the Board for the Packaging Distributors of America! Ken has been a key figure within the Packaging Distributors of America (PDA) for several years and continues to show a strong commitment to the success of the organization.

Ken possess a Bachelor of Science Degree in Packaging Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and has gained wealth of invaluable knowledge over his 30-year career in packaging. He has a great number of prior industry accomplishments, most notably receiving the Packaging Distributors of America Presidents Award in 2017.

The PDA has been an integral part of Crownhill’s business and we are proud to be part of their distribution network. It has allowed us to form strong bonds with other like-minded organizations, inspired new business ideas, and enabled us to serve our customers better.  

We talked with Ken about receiving this appointment.

Q. How do you feel about being named Chairman of the Board?

“It’s a tremendous privilege to be able to serve in this capacity. Packaging is an industry that affects all sectors of the economy and I’ve been passionate about the difference it makes for many, many years now.  We’re now at the most exciting time for packaging! With the rise of marketing and e-commerce, packaging is going way beyond getting a product from point A-B, it’s now about how your product is packaged when it arrives and the effect of this on consumers. I’m very grateful that I can influence the industry during this exciting time.”

Q. What are some of the current issues surrounding the PDA?

“Communicating the value that the PDA provides is still a major issue and is something I want to tackle in my tenure. The digital sphere is an area we’ve made great strides in, but we know there’s still a lot of potential we’re yet to tap into. I hope to make the most of the resources and talent available, to help both our customers and packaging distributors around North America see our value.

Q. Where do you see your tenure as chairman taking the PDA?

 “I want to continue to expand the knowledge base of the PDA network. We’ve built something amazing over the past 12 years, creating a solid network of companies throughout North America, that each bring something unique to the table. I want to continue expanding the knowledge base of the PDA. We’ve built something amazing over the past 12 years, creating a solid network of companies throughout North America that each brings something unique to the table. With so many opportunities for growth, I want to focus on improving member collaboration and knowledge sharing.”

Ken balances his responsibilities to the PDA with being a strong leader and visionary for Crownhill Packaging and we are grateful to have him as Vice President.  We are looking forward to the future contributions Ken will provide to the Packaging Distributors of America and the guidance he will provide to member organizations across North America.

Crownhill Awarded Knoll ‘Supplier Recognition for Operational Excellence’

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Knoll is a global supplier of home and office furnishings, combining forward thinking with consumer understanding to create elegant furniture that look good, while keeping people comfortable.  The company has established itself as a thought leader in the industry, providing research into ergonomics, and working with a variety of designs and styles. This innovating thinking has enabled it to ride economic waves and thrive for over 75 years.

The company knows that its suppliers provide a key contribution to its global success. This year Knoll has shown its appreciation to Crownhill by granting the ‘Supplier Recognition for Operational Excellence’ award at its Supplier Awards show located in the historic Logan Hotel in the heart of Downtown Philadelphia. Crownhill provides exceptional service to Knoll by making frequent deliveries, providing innovative solutions, and providing the company with ways to reduce their costs. This exceptional service has been due to the hard work and efforts of many people around Crownhill, including Director of Sales Mike Cancilla, as well as the Crownhill Customer Service and Shipping Departments.

Vice President Rodney Taylor was on hand in Philadelphia to receive the award.

Knoll has been working with Crownhill Packaging for almost 20 years moving from strictly supplying stretch film, to now providing the sheet foam and corrugate needs of the company as well. Crownhill is one the North America’s largest full-service packaging suppliers which has enabled the company to keep up with Knoll’s heavy demand for packaging products across Canada and the United States. These global operations have also enabled close relationships between the two parties Head Offices in both Southern Ontario, Canada and the North-Eastern United States.

Crownhill wants to send its sincere thanks to Knoll for granting us this award, and we are looking forward to many years of supplier excellence to come.

Legalization of Cannabis Coming to Canada & Crownhill to Offer Dispensary Bags

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The Government of Canada has announced the end of cannabis prohibition effective July 2018. The legalization of medicinal cannabis in over 20 US States, and legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada, as well as a growing number of US States have been leading factors behind Crownhill’s product line expansion into dispensary bags. Dispensary bags are plastic pouches of a variety of sizes, that are smell-resistant and made of FDA certified food-grade material that offer a variety of packaging uses.

These bags are perfect at storing the many items that could be harmful to children, especially items that could be attractive to their senses. In addition to the bags themselves being child resistant, they are both smell resistant and the packaging is completely opaque, offering no hints to the contents within. This prevents curious eyes (and noses) from being intrigued by the contents of these bags, and keeps the most cherished family members safe.

For perishable products, the food-grade materials extend their shelf life, while the solid packaging prevents harmful UV rays from penetrating through the packaging, and the bag keeping all scents within. This makes them ideal for items that will not be used immediately, or whose smell can interfere with the goods/environment that surrounds them.

The exceptional part of this product line is its versatility, pouches of a variety of sizes can utilize short run custom packing with low order minimums, opening the door to new branding options for established products.

Tamper evident dispensary bags show signs of any handling that can compromise the contents within, important for any product, especially products that can have severe health consequences if contaminated or altered between manufacture and consumption.  

Dispensary pouches attributes of being child resistant, tamper resistant, and easy to customize gives them a wide variety of uses and we’re excited to see how their availability changes the landscape of business and consumer packaging.

Congratulations to the 2017 Canada Post E-commerce Innovation Awards Winners

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During a sold-out gala at the Sheraton Center in Toronto, on September 20th, 2017, Canada Post hosted the sixth annual Canada Post E-commerce Innovation Awards. Category finalists and e-commerce industry leaders gathered to meet, recognize and celebrate the companies and start-ups that are moving e-commerce forward in Canada. Canada Post awards category winners received beautiful award statues, exclusive prize packages including shipping services, direct marketing offerings and marketing services, as well as valuable industry-wide exposure.

The 2017 Canada Post awards winners are:

This year’s Canada Post awards recipients were chosen by a panel of relevant and influential industry experts hailing from notable organizations including Google Canada, Facebook Canada, Deloitte Canada, CIBC World Markets Inc., and the Retail Council of Canada.

Crownhill Packaging is honored to have been able to sponsor the Best Omni-Channel Retailer, Small Award. Finalists in this category are smaller retailers that provide their customers an omni-channel experience in both their physical locations and online offerings. They differentiate their business and its intent by using cutting-edge technology and customer-based tactics to best service their clientele. This year’s winner for the Best Omni-Channel Retailer, Small Award was Rent frock Repeat, a retailer that enables women to rent high-end designer fashion for single events. Their online storefront provides online access to personal stylists as well as detailed measurements of both dresses and models.

We’d like to congratulate the winners at this year’s Canada Post awards. The strides forward made by each of these e-commerce businesses has greatly benefited us all. We continually look forward to seeing the accomplishments everyone will undoubtedly make in the future.

Crownhill Packaging Sponsors 2017 Canada Post E-commerce Innovation Awards

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Crownhill Packaging is proud to once again be a sponsor of the Canada Post E-Commerce Innovation Awards™. Created in 2012, the awards celebrate Canadian companies whose online efforts are innovative, disruptive, committed and daring.

As part of the 2017 Canada Post Awards, Crownhill Packaging is also specifically sponsoring the Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award – Small. This award recognizes a small retailer who best uses their online and brick-and-mortar presence to create an involving end-to-end customer experience that sets them apart from their competitors. As one of North America’s largest full-service packaging suppliers, Crownhill Packaging appreciates the dedication and effort it takes to ensure clients and customers have the experience and service they deserve.

This year’s full list of Canada Post Awards finalists are:

Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award – Large

  • Hudson’s Bay
  • Simons
  • Best Buy Canada
  • Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)
  • FGL Sports – SportChek

Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award – Small (Sponsored by Crownhill Packaging)

  • Poppy Barley
  • iDrinkCoffee.com
  • JACEK Chocolate Couture
  • Chocolats Favoris
  • Rent frock Repeat

Pure Play of the Year Award – Large

  • Charmed Aroma
  • Jennybird
  • Manitobah Mukluks
  • Jewlr
  • Article

Pure Play of the Year Award – Small

  • Cook It
  • Elate Cosmetics
  • Golf Avenue
  • Uniqfind
  • WineOnline.ca

Best Marketing & Brand Engagement Award

  • Poppy Barley
  • Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)
  • Best Buy Canada
  • Big Al’s
  • OatBox

Most Disruptive Start-Up Award

  • Cognitive Systems Corp. – Aura
  • Tom & Sawyer
  • The Packaging Company
  • Invictus Gloves
  • SuckGate WaveSurf

Social Impact Award

  • London Drugs
  • Fresh City
  • Textbooks for Change
  • Peace Collective
  • Manitobah Mukluks
  • Eve Kit

As a sponsor of the 2017 Canada Post E-Commerce Innovation Awards™, we are continually impressed by the efforts on display in the online retail world. We look forward to congratulating and celebrating this year’s winners when they’re announced at the awards gala on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017, at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto.

We wish nothing but good luck and success to all this year’s Canada Post Awards nominees!

Vice President Ken Wong awarded 2017 PDA President’s Award

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Crownhill Packaging, one of the largest full service packaging distributors in North America, is proud to be a member of the Packaging Distributors of America (PDA). As the only member with locations in both Canada and the USA, it remains an honor to be part of such a vital and integral organization.

During the week of June 19th, 2017, PDA held its AGM (annual general meeting) at the Ritz Carlton Reynolds in Lake Oconnee, Georgia. Its organization members and suppliers use this opportunity to build new business relationships and to celebrate the successes of the past year—both individually and as the PDA.

We’re delighted to share that our Vice President, Ken Wong, was presented with the 2017 PDA President’s Award. Receiving such an award reflects his commitment to supporting the values of the Packaging Distributors of America and furthering its mission. His leadership, insight and dedication continues to benefit the PDA, its members and Crownhill Packaging itself.

Ken Wong PDA Award 2017“Packaging Distributors of America is honored to give the 2017 President’s Award to Ken Wong. This award is for that special individual that goes above what is expected and gives of themselves selflessly in order for others to succeed. Our gratitude and thanks for Ken being part of PDA.”
George Strobel, President of PDA

Congratulations from everyone here at Crownhill Packaging, Ken!