The future of independent ag retailers in Western Canada

By: Shaun Haney

October 4, 2017

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With recent news that 14 independent retailers in Western Canada have joined forces with an Australian entity, and another group of independents forming Winfield United Canada, I’m finding myself wondering what the future of independent ag retailers looks like in Canada. Is there a future? Can someone with one to five outlets make a go of it?

There’s no question the independent ag retailer has had better days in in most of Western Canada. There was a time where they covered the prairies, no different than farm houses and tree lines. But thin margins, heightened competition, mergers and acquisitions have these staples in our communities under threat.


So what has happened?

Based on discussions with independent retailers across Western Canada, here’s what I’ve found out:

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So what is the future of the independent retailer? Can we expect new independents to pop up across the prairies?

Here’s my conversation with Univar’s Neil Douglas about the future of the independent ag retailer and what they mean to rural Canada: