Bissett’s comprehensive merchandising program is proven to increase sales and profitability. Our industry leading solutions are customized for your business.
Bissett has years of experience working with Industrial partners, specifically dealing with pallet, furniture, mattress, window, and relocatable structure / modular home builders.
Don't take our word for it, read about how we help our clients succeed.
We are back with another Key Dealer focus feature! This time we are featuring Atlas Tools and Machinery. Atlas has been selling power tools and accessories for over 65 years. They are a third-generation Canadian family business that prides itself in treating its customers like family. Originally located on Queen Street, Atlas has grown to a new location in South Etobicoke. Their 18,000-square-foot showroom plus Head Office and distribution centre space is made to serve not just their local market but also the rest of Canada through their e-commerce platform. They also have a large following on social media, with nearly 200,000 followers, to further engage with their customer base and develop their online community. Like Bissett, Atlas is not just a business, it is a family. Their team of 80 staff members is knowledgeable and dedicated not only to their products but also to their customers.
Bissett started working with Atlas in 2018 when we sold them only fasteners. They stocked a variety of different fastener brands, which made it much more challenging to shop for customers. Switching to Bissett’s fastener program enabled Atlas to double its fastener sales in short order. As well it helped Atlas serve a broader market by increasing its number of stocking SKUs. Now, Atlas has one of the best SKU lineups in the industry and caters to framers with its new pallet buy program. In 2021, Bissett added our tool program to their store. Since then, the Bissett section in Atlas has grown to 16 feet for Fasteners, and two 4′ end caps for Bissett Tools. In addition, Atlas bought exclusive rights for our limited-edition Beast Nailer for all of Ontario. They even decided to match our donation for the tool with Food Banks Canada – the only Dealer Partner in all of Canada to do so.
Bissett sat down with the family behind Atlas a few weeks back to chat more about the business and about our partnership with them over the years.
Anthony Perrotta: Could we begin with how it started? Could we hear the origin story?
Mike Ederman: Both my parents were born in Poland and when Germany invaded, my dad [Joe] fled. After the war, he went to Belgium and met my mother. They got married and came on a boat to Canada, settling in Toronto. His first job was in tailoring. Then he tried to do a dry-cleaning business, but that didn’t work out. Then he became a plumber. While he was a plumber, he recognized that quality tools were hard to find, so he started selling tools out of the trunk of his car. My dad later rented a spot on Queen Street in 1954 and started to sell tools there. He rented it with the option to buy the property, and a year later he bought it. That’s how we started.
From a young age, Mike was involved in the business, helping his father. “I was always working there as a kid, since I was like 12 or 13, every Saturday and summer ’67”, he reflects. Originally the store was called Cut Right Tools, but the name changed in the early 60s to Atlas Machinery Supply. The name change stemmed from conversations with friends, love of the world (Atlas), and Joe’s ability to speak many languages and connect with people from various backgrounds.
Shawn Ederman: Tradespeople from many backgrounds would come down to Atlas, and Joe would be able to communicate with them in some way. He would welcome people and help them network. “Come here, let me show you. I’ll get you started. You need a job. Hey, so, and so is hiring. Let me get you the tools.”
Jane Carsky: So community around your business has always been really important?
Carey Ederman: It’s huge.
Shawn Ederman: We still are doing a version of this today. We have had Instagram meet and greets and job fairs at the store, and the people would come in and they’d be connecting to other trades and getting jobs. That’s something our grandfather was really passionate about – The community.
Anthony Perrotta: How much influence would your dad have passed on in terms of keeping that community feeling in your store?
Shawn Ederman: It was a huge influence. Everybody knew Joe from Atlas. He was the face of the store. We get customers who used to come with their parents back in the ‘70s and now they shop here themselves. A lot of customers still come in and say, “I remember when I used to come to Queen Street with my dad.” That’s pretty cool.
Mike took over the business in 1973, which is when they took on big power tool brands such as Makita, Porter-Cable, and Milwaukee. Brothers Shawn and Carey joined their father Mike working in the family business and the three continue to operate it today. Ahead of the curve for the industry, Atlas first launched its e-commerce platform in 2010. The e-commerce site combined with its impressive social media following allows the Ontario-based company to have a national reach as customers across Canada shop at their online store.
Shawn Ederman: I think the social media has really made this community. It’s connecting people. These guys are so cool, showcasing their stuff. You know, people weren’t a believer in this for years. People thought it was a waste of time. Get off your phone Carey and stop posting stuff.
Carey Ederman: I took a lot of heat for that for a while but sticking through it, it’s paid off. I’m a big believer in being visible [online] for your company. Engage people. This is what people look at all day. We’re very passionate about what we’re doing with the lines that we’re carrying and how we’re promoting it. It’s making our industry cool and feeding people’s passion.
While its online presence is significant, Atlas is still focused on its retail footprint. Ensuring they create a retail space that is engaging for customers and carries quality products.
Carey Ederman: There’s something to be said about a facility that has everything. Walking through a store and getting ideas and being able to pick up everything tool related under one roof. Yes, ordering online is a big deal, but passion is bred at the store level too. When you’re talking to an associate and you say, “Hey, try these nails. Look how good this packaging is, boxes don’t fall apart, and all details are on the box, and the quality is fantastic value. Look at all this stuff. It looks amazing. Look at this setup, look at these tools… Look at this Beast.”
Anthony Perrotta: That touch and feel.
Carey Ederman: It’s hard for that to come across online. But it’s having that consistency from online to in-store. The passion becomes a breeding ground and a flywheel in a way. Then you get that guy who wants a whole garage from Milwaukee or you get all your Bissett nails and you’ve got to have the guns matching. It goes back to the passion behind it.
Jane Carsky: Speaking of Bissett, how has working with us been since you’ve expanded your fastener and pneumatic tool sections?
Shawn Ederman: Shoppability. Consistency and clear information in packaging has been a huge thing for our sales staff and for our customer base. As well, having more fastener selection has been very important for us.
Carey Ederman: We like how it’s made by Canadians for Canadians. To me, that’s a big deal. And having alignment with another company that has that kind of young feel, that importance of high-end marketing, branding and products.
Shawn Ederman: Exactly. Stocking a Canadian brand family-owned business [Bissett] that believes in the best quality aligns with our own values. Plus knowing you go [visit suppliers], speak the same terms, and have quality control measures that are a little bit greater. Bissett is also more focused on direct-to-consumer which is important. You reach out to customers to find out what their needs and challenges are. I don’t think other companies are doing that as well in the industry. Those values are the same as Atlas where we align with our suppliers, our employees, and our customers. Having that partnership and alignment is huge for us. That is what helped us buy in. Since then, we expanded the line and don’t think we have any other [brand of] fasteners in the store.
Carey Ederman: And that it’s family-owned as well. That’s incredible, to me that’s huge. We should have that in our displays in our stores. “Family built, by Canadians for Canadians.”
Jane Carsky: There is something nice about family-run businesses. The company feels like a family and our customers feel like family. There’s a sense of obligation that you want to give people the best and help them get what they need. I see that in Atlas, from everything that we just talked about today.
Mike Ederman: That’s awesome.
Carey Ederman: People like family businesses. I find I tend to care a little bit more about the people and the brand, because it’s family. People notice that, and they’re more willing to invest in it.
Thank you to Mike, Shawn, and Carey for taking the time to sit with us. To learn more about Atlas Tools & Machinery you can go to their website https://www.atlas-machinery.com/ or follow them on Instagram @atlasmachinery !
Use our hashtag #bissettonsite to get featured