2015 PROFIT 500 Ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies
Cymax Stores Inc.
cymax stores inc, profit 500, profit500,
Arash Fasihi and his wife wanted a TV stand. The couple had just bought a condo, but the particular piece of furniture they needed to bring the place together wasn’t available in Vancouver. So Fasihi turned to the Internet, only to find that the one U.S. retailer that had the item in stock wouldn’t ship it across the border.
So Fasihi registered audio-videofurniture.com, loaded the site with an array of TV stands and other electronic fittings, and left it out there to test if other consumers had similar needs. Six months later, in December 2004, the site made its first sale.
Fast-forward a decade, and Fasihi is CEO of Cymax Stores Inc., an e-commerce furniture retailer on track to earn $180 million this year. The company, based in Burnaby, B.C., grew 71% over the past five years and is now a multi-brand retailer showcasing the products of more than 200 North American manufacturers, and handling shipping and delivery operations on their behalf. Cymax snagged the #468 spot on the 2015 PROFIT 500 Ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies.
What makes Fasihi’s accomplishment all the more impressive is that he’s done it without bringing in substantial outside investment or the kinds of specialized employees usually required to scale to that size. It’s only recently that Cymax caught the attention of a significant B.C. backer, who’s lending a chunk of cash and his considerable expertise to help grow the business even further.
Cymax also stands out because of the market it’s pursuing. While e-commerce has disrupted many traditional sectors within the retail industry (when was the last time you bought a novel at a bookstore?), furniture has remained decidedly old-fashioned. By Fasihi’s reckoning, only 6% of the purchases in the $250-billion global home furnishing and decor category happen online. “The in-store experience is so important to the buying and selling of furniture,” says John Torella, senior adviser for marketing at the J.C. Williams Group, a retail consultancy. “You want to see it, feel it, touch it, sit on it.” That’s difficult to do when the object in question is a two-dimensional image on a smartphone screen.
But consumers will eventually get comfortable with the idea of buying furniture online, just as they did with eyewear, clothing and even groceries. Capitalizing on its first-mover advantage, Cymax is leading a network of traditional retailers into the digital selling space and establishing an unassailable position in tomorrow’s e-commerce market. Once shoppers have become accustomed to purchasing beds, chairs, even entire kitchens online, digital sales will soar, Fasihi says. “We could be a billion-dollar business within the next few years.”
cymax stores inc
, profit 500