From ex-army surplus retail shop to exclusive, online fabric supplier

The Canvas Company (TCC), a family-owned company that’s been in retail for nearly 40 years, is shifting from its Karangahape Road shop to a new warehouse in Albany. It is also changing its business model by becoming an exclusive, online fabric supplier.
TCC owner and manager Brendan Smith says the relocation of the company’s base and revamping its business model is all about moving with the times and focusing on the future.
“When dad – Bruce Smith – began the business back in the 1970s; he started off selling army surplus stock and then moved into top-end camping equipment. We were known as Canvas City in those days and the move into the camping side of the business was a great fit,” Brendan explains.
“However, when we relocated our shop from Hobson Street – after 29 years – to K-Road almost decade ago; we also moved out of camping equipment to concentrate the business more on being a supplier of high-quality fabrics.”
He says TCC has now established itself as a leading supplier of high-quality, performance fabrics.
“This includes fine art digital media and marine-grade outdoor fabrics, as well as our own specifically dedicated artist canvas range,” Brendan adds. “We also specialise in manufacturing custom-made products associated with outdoor performance fabrics.”

Brendan says day-to-day retail business has slowed over the last few years – especially since TCC has developed and promoted a much stronger online presence via its website (www.canvascompany.co.nz) where it directly supplies customers with product.

“The reality of our business nowadays is that people find it far easier and convenient to go online and order their fabric – rather than actually having to come into the shop. They can see exactly what they want online, place their order and it’s delivered within 24-hours.”

Brendan says while customers will no longer be able to just drop into the shop as they have done in the past; they can still expect the same level of excellent service and top-quality products that have become synonymous with TCC during the past 40 years.

“I’m confident that these changes will allow us to grow our business and improve the level of service we can give,” he adds. “By ensuring our customers have access to the greatest supply of high-quality, performance fabrics available in New Zealand.”