By MARINA SACHT
From the outside it looks like any other garage you would find in a nice quiet neighbourhood but inside is a thriving international business marketing products worldwide.
Leisure Products Canada is owned by husband and wife partners Richard and Joan Gordon. At a time when most people would be thinking of retirement, they are busy coming up with ideas for products that make our lives a little easier.
The Gordon’s find inspiration everywhere – from a real need or when they run across an inferior product. They ask themselves “how can we make this better?”
Their formula for success has paid off.
Today Leisure Products Canada manufactures and distributes unique specialty products world-wide from their base in Ladysmith.
It all started back in 1993 when Richard developed a 3 in 1 beverage opener. It was a hit with breweries, the NHL, Major League Baseball and so on. — with over 30 million units shipped.
Richard met Joan in1992. She’d been working for an online booking service for pet friendly hotels and while she enjoyed her work (they have two friendly rescue dogs) in 2011 she was “burnt-out” with sales and decided to work with Richard. “I do the paperwork, shipping, billing, he does the sales.”
Joan also helps come up with ideas for products. After buying a package of garden tie wire that sunlight disintegrated, she thought we can make this product and UV protect it.
Their Soft Twist Tie Garden Wire UV stabilized wire won’t break down. It’s such a popular product that it comes in 55’, 250 and 500’ rolls for commercial users. “It’s the only product on the market, that won’t disintegrate. Locally its available at Buckerfields , nurseries and throughout the island.
Convenience and quality play a key in all their designs. Take their stainless steel magnetic latches ranging from 10 to 40 lb strength. You’ll find them used by RV manufacturers in motor homes and leisure vans. The idea was born after Richard struggled with a door and thought there must be a better method. You’ll find those in Home Hardware stores across Canada.
Despite the occasional 60 foot truck trailer that stops at their garage/warehouse, Joan says we are just a small home based business.
“When clients call, I say he is in the “warehouse” , she laughs.
Having the business run from their home saves them expensive warehouse costs, plus allows them to simplify and flow through products in large volume.
New products on the market include a Gate Kit that allows consumers to make their own custom gates (their partner in China designed it, and they are the distributors) and a cell phone mounting kit that is hands free and swivels while having a low profile. There are other cell mounting kits but theirs is a superior product at half the price, says Joan.
Their most recent product is a Do-It Yourself Aluminum Deck Railing System that can snap together in a few hours and comes with built in lighting option.
So waht do all these products have in common?
They are useful and of high quality.
“We will go through the market place and see something and think, wow that’s a great idea but i don’t like the way it is packaged or it’s poor quality. We almost never have returns and if we did it would be a full refund. But we never have anyone return anything.”
If you have a great idea and don’t know what to do or where to go, contact them. “We can manufacture anything anyone wants.” And the rest is up to you.