September 04, 2020Well...here we are...October 3, 1979, the opening of Rob McIntosh's first store in Cornwall Square. Were we scared. Oh yes!!! However, the Universe had our back and we prospered. Don't forget interest rates were 21% so many stores weren't so lucky and after Rob McIntosh moved onto the main mall, the toy store next door went out of business. Two collectibles were huge at that time (early 80's). Robert Bateman and Bradford Exchange Collector Plates. So...Rob rented the store next door - his first expansion-the Apple Gallery came into being. Rob had a dream - a chain of china shops along the St. Lawrence seaway. In 1984, the first expansion store (Wedgwood lent him the money) opened in the Kingston Shopping Centre. Pretty exciting. Jamie, Rob's oldest son, drove shipments to the store after school twice a week. In 1985, Brockville was opened and that same year, the 4th Rob McIntosh shop opened in Quinte Mall, Belleville. The seaway was conquered. But...right then, fate stepped in... In Cornwall Square, there was a restaurant called Sneaky Pete's. This was a country-wide chain at that time and was run by a gentleman who we shall call Mr. F. Mr. F. approached Rob with a consortium of 3 guys, one from the shopping centre business, one from real estate and a investment guy. They had decided that if Rob McIntosh could do that well in Cornwall, then the store should go across the country- the 4 (including Rob) would put money in equally and when there were profits they would take the money out equally. After several meetings, it became clear that would happen but Rob would do all the retail work (so Rob dropped out of the deal). The other 3 men decided to go ahead without him; they opened 5 china shops in various malls as far as Niagara Falls. Three years later, (they had closed 3 of these stores in between), they re-approached Rob and asked if he would like to take over the remaining leases as part of his own expansion plan. He said yes. At once, Rob McIntosh China went from 4 seaway stores and 1 Apple Gallery to 5 Rob McIntosh shops and 2 Apple Gallery's. So...Rob McIntosh had to buy a truck to make the deliveries once a week to all these stores. Think like Rob. If your truck is driving all the way to Niagara with no stores in between Belleville and the Falls, why not get some stores in between. The fun had just begun. Part #3 soon.
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