Campbellford Wholesale Co.

Campbellford Wholesale is willing to do whatever it takes to please its customers, whether they’re located in the company’s home province of Ontario, Canada, or on the other side of the world in Australia. 

“Customer service is what sets us apart,” the company says. “We tend to look after our customers quite well, and over time you build trust and you continue doing business.”

The company provides tobacco, confectionary items, health and beauty products, pet foods, snacks, batteries and other items for convenience stores and foodservice accounts. Campbellford Wholesale expands its services during the summer months to include more than 400 seasonal businesses.

Most of the company’s accounts are located within a 200-kilometer range of its headquarters in Campbellford, Ontario, though it can also fill requests outside of Canada. This includes a customer in Milton-Queensland, Australia, who operates a Canadian-products-only online business, the company adds.

Campbellford Wholesale also fills orders that are shipped to a Canadian Forces Station in Alert, Nunavut, in the northernmost region of the country. The company ensures those orders are neither too heavy nor too bulky to be sent by plane, it says.

The company gives all of its customers an equal amount of care and attention. “If we don’t have what they want, we’ll get it for them or find someone who does have it,” Campbellford Wholesale says. “We look after our customers 100 percent, and everything is guaranteed.”

A Legacy of Service

The company’s legacy of customer service extends back to 1920, when founder Ralph Locke started a billiard hall in Campbellford. He would often travel to Toronto and bring back tobacco, confectionary and other items for friends and family. In 1930, he started Locke’s Cigar Store and Wholesale as a way to make money from what he had already been doing as a favor.

Ralph Locke handed the business down to his son Murray in 1950. Today, Campbellford Wholesale is owned by Murray’s sons Dave and John Locke, who have guided the company since 1985. The company operates a 24,000-square-foot warehouse, eight trucks and has seven sales reps, and handles about 18,000 SKUs. “Our success over the years has come from our location and size,” the company says. “We’re far enough away from Toronto and Ottawa, but not so remote that we can’t grow our business. We have access to a large area and we’re big enough to service it.”   

The company has kept up with changes in the marketplace during its more than 80 years in business by expanding its offerings. This includes moving beyond its traditional base in confectionery and tobacco products to include other goods. 

A network of wholesale suppliers assists the company in ensuring quality as well as competitive pricing. The company keeps its product mix fresh by regularly offering new products and eliminating low-selling items. Special requests are also accommodated, whether for an order of one case or 100 cases of a specialty item, the company notes.

A Proactive Approach

Campbellford Wholesale’s customer service efforts include a weekly flyer for foodservice and convenience customers that highlights new items and special discounts. “We work with the manufacturers and create our own specials,” the company says. “We create special sheets for foodservice and send out weekly promotions to our convenience customers. You have to be proactive in this business.”   

The company’s sales representatives also maintain close contact with clients through weekly visits. One sales representatives has been with the company for more than 40 years, and several others have been there for more than a decade. Campbellford credits this longevity to the company’s family oriented atmosphere, which it intends to maintain. Although John and Dave Locke intend to retire within the next few years, the company will remain in good hands as it is passed to the next generation, which includes John Locke’s son, Curtis, Campbellford Wholesale adds. 

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