Canadian Furniture Manufacturer Palliser Expanding Distribution Facilities Due to Increased Demand: Interview

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Winnipeg-based furniture manufacturer Palliser is making a big investment in its operations to fuel the company’s growth in North America.

Peter Tielmann

The company is building a new 130,000-square-foot facility in Winnipeg as well as another plant in Matamoros, Mexico, to complement its facilities already in place at those locations.

“This investment is our commitment to growth in the North American market,” said Peter Tielmann, President and CEO. “We’re eager to create new jobs right here in Manitoba, where our business is anchored, as well as in our Mexico facilities that primarily support our US customers. It’s important for us as a company to continue to produce domestically, which reduces our environmental impact by lowering our emissions and carbon footprint.

The two new facilities will create 700 new jobs.

Palliser Production Facility in Winnipeg (Image: Palliser)
Palliser Production Facility in Winnipeg (Image: Palliser)

“We are dedicated to providing retailers and consumers with personalized, made-to-order products our customers have come to appreciate over our nearly 78-year history. We are proud of our success, which we attribute to personalization, as well as our commitment to style, and dedication to comfort, quality and sustainability.”

Tielmann said the company currently has three factories in place in Winnipeg, employing about 1,200 people. Those three factories are about 500,000 square feet in total. 

“Winnipeg is our hometown. We’ve been there for a long time. We’re a 75-year-old company. That’s where our head office is. In the past we produced more in Canada but it’s been difficult for the last number of decades because competition was very stiff from countries where labour rates are much lower and we were dealing with certain unfair trade practices coming out of Vietnam and China – at least that’s what the industry complained about,” he said. 

“Once the government looked into it and found that was true and implemented tariffs against these certain categories of furniture, that really gave us confidence to invest in Canada because we’ve been otherwise expanding in Mexico. In Mexico, we have 2,500 employees and we’re still growing there. And we’re using the Mexican plans to support our US market. But now that the tariffs are in place we’re confident again in investing in Canada as well because we believe that under these new conditions there is a future for manufacturing of these types of product in Canada again.” 

The creation of the two new facilities will help the company increase  total North American production capacity by 30 per cent in 2022.

The Winnipeg facility is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of this year. 

In Mexico, Palliser has four factories in place currently with about 600,000 square feet. Another 100,000 square feet is being added. It is also adding more shifts there to meet demand.

Palliser Production Facility in Winnipeg (Image: Palliser)

“We have been investing in new product lines and these product lines have been successful in the marketplaces both in the US and Canada so that requires more capacity,” said Tielmann. 

“More importantly, we really see a trend towards on-shoring. That trend we believe will continue. There’s more market share going towards manufacturers who manufacture on the continent. So that’s really a big trend that’s been going on for multiple reasons. During COVID there were a lot of supply chains interrupted and retailers decided they didn’t want to be dependent on supply chains that rely on really very distance places and wanted to on-shore to re-balance their product portfolio.

“Also, the consumer sentiment towards sustainability is a big deal and that’s been an ongoing trend already but it’s been accelerating as the more the public is aware of requirements for us to do something about the climate change we’re dealing with – the issue of our generation. Many consumers want to do what’s in their power to make choices that are more sustainable. We make bulky products and shipping across the ocean leaves a huge carbon footprint. So being domestic makes a big difference. And also domestic manufacturers can be more transparent towards the materials and where they come from and how they make things. Also for us our goal is to be leaders in our industry of making products more sustainably. So it’s a big deal. Sustainability is a factor that has driven a move towards on-shoring and it’s driven from the consumer.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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