Here's a nice Globe and Mail story by Adam Stanley on the Goldline equipment company which is quickly approaching its 50th anniversary. As the story reveals, however, there was a period when the future of the broom and shoe maker was seriously in doubt.
In the early 1980s, Canada was going through a financial struggle not seen since the Great Depression. Goldline Curling, a family-owned business, was running into the same issues that many small businesses were having: It couldn’t secure funding to remain afloat and had an interest rate on its line of credit that was more than what most credit card rates are today.
So Doug Flowers, now 65, and his brother did everything they could to keep the business going and look out for their father, whose house was on the line.
“I had a good friend who I look back on now as our saviour,” reflects Mr. Flowers. “I talked to a lot of banks and they basically just turned us down without even a sniff. This friend of mine, although he was probably a terrible banker, he was a nice guy. He gave us the financing we needed to keep going.”Flowers says the turning point for the company, which currently sponsors both the gold medal winning rinks of Brad Jacobs and Jennifer Jones, was when it began to source materials off-shore, using the cheaper prices available in Asia to make its products.
“Back in the 1980s, all products were sourced in North America. In the late 90s we slowly started going over to Asia, but now 90 per cent of our product is sourced there,” he explains.
It became more difficult to assemble product in the small Canadian warehouse, so they trained a team in China to do the work for them.
“It made a real difference in terms of our margins,” Mr. Flowers says. “From 2002 to 2008, if there was a turning point in the success of our business, it would be that five-year transitional period from domestic sourcing to offshore sourcing.”
Although I'm a Balance Plus guy when it comes to equipment, I know Doug as we curl at the same club. He's a nice guy who I like and respect very much. He has done well in the business of curling and there are certainly a lot of curlers who utilize his gear.