We’re proud to announce the publication of two corporate histories — both from Canadian success stories. The first is Frontier Vision: The Rebirth of the North West Company. The North West Company began as a fur-trading business, founded by 18th-century Europeans “of a different sort,” writes Charles Foran in the book’s introduction. In the face of a ban on issuing licenses for trading furs, a group of free traders established an agreement with the governor of Quebec and, as a collective, grew to be a formidable rival to the behemoth Hudsons Bay Company.
The two fur-trading giants fought for western Canada and the competition was so intense, the companies were eventually forced to merge. The North West Company vanished in 1821, but the spirit of the Nor’Westers was very much alive in Canada’s North for the next 166 years — the HBC northern stores was a network of more than 200 small shops serving remote, still barely accessible communities mapped by legendary Nor’Westers Samuel Hearne and Alexander Mackenzie. “In these often modest stores and harsh circumstances… people gathered, as they had done at those vanished trading posts, to exchange goods, news and gossip.”
Those stores fell away in the 1950s, but the northern store network was revived in the 1980s by a passionate and intensely entrepreneurial group of businessmen. In 2012, they celebrated their 25 years of success, with outlets not only in Canada’s north, but also Alaska and tropical locales. (more…)