On Dec. 4th & 5th 2013, 30 representatives of 22 Quebec companies from the hardware and construction materials industries visited Menards, a retail chain based in Eau Claire, WI, that has 289 stores across the Midwest.
Organized by the Quebec Government Office in Chicago, in partnership with Export Québec and Développement PME Chaudière-Appalaches, this trade mission lasted 24 hours and consisted of:
- a training seminar on Menards’ business practices;
- a Menards store visit;
- a networking dinner;
- over 50 meetings with 23 different Menards buyers.
There already appear to be promising opportunities for these Quebec businesses to become vendors.
This is the second trade mission that Quebec has organized with Menards, and it will not be the last. This year’s event was so successful that Menards already invited Quebec to return for a third visit. The quality of the Quebec companies’ products, along with that of the organizers’ efforts, continue to nurture a strategic relationship between Menards and Quebec. Thanks to Keith Kalinowski, a Commercial Officer at the Quebec Government Office in Chicago, Quebec is the only foreign government to enjoy such privileged access to this retailer.
This trade mission gives Quebec companies an advantageous position in the Midwest’s hardware and construction materials market. The innovative approach used by the Quebec Government Office in Chicago and its partners allows Quebec companies to develop a business relationship with a major player in this industry (in business for more than 50 years) and to showcase their expertise in this important export market. Overall, the Midwest receives one quarter of Quebec’s exports to the U.S.