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Eaton’s: Satisfaction guaranteed

The Story


T. Eaton Company's fabled relationship with the Canadian people begins on a December day in 1869 when a hard-working Irish immigrant opens a department store in Toronto. This TV clip shows the secret of Timothy Eaton's success. He's a no-nonsense man who develops innovative business practices for the times. Eaton's first advertisement reads, "We propose to sell our goods for CASH ONLY - In selling goods, to have only one price." At a time when haggling over prices is the norm, customers like the concept of fair, affordable shopping. Customers also like Eaton's groundbreaking promise of satisfaction guaranteed or money refunded. Timothy knows how to cater to customers and his business grows steadily. In 1883 Eaton's opens a new four-storey store in Toronto with elevators, electric lighting and ladies' restrooms. By the time Timothy Eaton dies in 1907, Eaton's is a thriving company with two major stores, a flourishing mail-order business and the growing devotion of a country.

Medium: Television
Program: The National Magazine
Broadcast Date: Feb. 27, 1997
Reporter: Tom Alderman
Duration: 0:49

Did You know?


• Timothy Eaton immigrated to Canada from Ireland in 1854 at age 22.

• In 1856 Timothy Eaton and brother James opened the J. and T. Eaton General Store in St. Marys, Ont. After the brothers quarrelled over the business, Timothy's wife encouraged him to start his own business in Toronto.

• Henry Morgan opened the first department store in Canada in 1866. It was a four-storey operation on St. Joseph Street in Montreal.

• Timothy Eaton's main competitor was a Scottish immigrant named Robert Simpson who opened his first department store in Toronto in 1872. The two rival departments stores were across from each other on Yonge Street.

• When Timothy Eaton opened his first department store in Toronto in 1869 the city population was 70,000

• On Jan. 31, 1907, Timothy Eaton died of pneumonia at age 73. He left an estate worth $5.3 million. His son Jack (John Craig Eaton) took over the company.


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