T.S. Simms loses Kent Supplies contract
Two iconic Saint John companies will not be doing business together any more after the Irving-owned Kent Building Supplies stopped stocking products made by T.S. Simms and Company.
Now, the once-prominent Saint John paint brush is getting harder to find in its home city.
A spokesperson for Kent Building Supplies says the company is a member of a national buying group. And that group made the decision to stock a different brand on behalf of the Canadian vendors it represents.
This is another strain on T.S. Simms and Company’s business.
The company’s workforce in Saint John has been reduced over the years. In 2009 it borrowed $1.5 million from the provincial government to help prevent layoffs.
Dan Doiron, a business professor at the University of New Brunswick, said this latest development with Kent Building Supplies means Simms will have to focus on other areas.
"They'll have to start to differentiate their product, or work on increasing their brand so their customers are willing to pay a little more for their product," Doiron said.
Simms did not return calls from CBC News.
Some Saint John-based businesses are still stocking Simms products.
Gary Morrison buys merchandise for Dykeman’s, a 100-year-old hardware store.
The small business in Saint John's north end has been stocking the brand since it opened.
Now, it's one of the last places in the city to find the brushes.
"They have quality, they're a local manufacturer, so it's nice to buy from a manufacturer that's right in Saint John," Dykeman said.