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Zellers Head Offices

Zellers head office above the store at Queen Mary Road and Trans Island Avenue, ca. 1950

Zellers head office above the store at Queen Mary Road and Trans Island Avenue, ca. 1950

Zellers Head Office was originally located in Montreal. This, despite the fact that when the company opened for business in 1931, the original dozen stores were primarily located in south-western Ontario, with the first store in London. In fact Walter P. Zeller was himself born in Waterloo county near Kitchener.

However, the considerations that drive business are diverse and early on Zellers management realized the advantages to locating the Head Office in Montreal. Primary among these was the fact that the Montreal was the centre of the Canadian apparel industry and Quebec the heart of the textile industry. Both were key lines for the business so proximity to suppliers was assured. Montreal was also a key transportation and financial centre.

Zellers head office, 5250 Décarie Blvd, Montreal, ca. 1971

Zellers head office, 5250 Décarie Blvd, Montreal, ca. 1971

Head Office was first located in the downtown at 1253 McGill College Avenue. It remained there until 1950 when the building was sold and the company was forced to look for other premises. At that time Zellers had signed a lease for its very first store in Montreal, at the corner of Queen Mary Road and Trans Island Avenue. A subsequent lease for the 2nd floor of this new building was signed and Head Office relocated here in June, 1950. It would remain there for the next 21 years.

In 1971 space considerations again necessitated a move. Relocation to 5250 Décarie Blvd. allowed buying and administrative offices to be combined in a single building. By 1984 these offices were at capacity and the company was renting additional space in two other locations. This time the decision was much more fundamental: whether or not to stay in Montreal or move to Toronto. Hbc had acquired a majority share in Zellers in 1978, and by 1981 had acquired all outstanding shares, thereby completing its acquisition. In addition income tax levels and language legislation were seen to be barriers to attracting and retaining key personnel to Montreal.

Moving into 5100 de Maisonneuve Blvd, Montreal, 1985

Moving into 5100 de Maisonneuve Blvd, Montreal, 1985

On the other hand, Zellers management realized that a significant number of Head Office staff might not choose to transfer, particularly the over 40% who were francophone. Montreal was still local to most of the company's major suppliers and the costs of building there, as opposed to Toronto, would be considerably less. These arguments won out and in April 1984 Zellers president T. Iain Ronald announced that the company would be staying in Montreal. The site chosen was 5100 de Maisonneuve Blvd., across from the Vendôme Métro station. The six storey, six-sided concrete and glass building opened for business in July, 1985.

In 1996 Zellers Head Office moved to 401 Bay Street, but with the acquisition of K-Mart in 1998 came one final move to the present location on Torbram Road in Brampton, which was transferred to Zellers from K-Mart.


Kmart head office (later Zellers) in Brampton, Ontario, almost completed, 1979

Kmart head office (later Zellers) in Brampton, Ontario, almost completed, 1979

 

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