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Company History

Company History

Building on the strength of over 180 years of experience, The Stevens Company Limited is the largest, privately-owned Canadian distributor of hospital, physician and nursing home supplies. Service has been a ruling hallmark of the company throughout its long history as it has kept pace with the rapid changes and advances in the healthcare industry through responsive and flexible change, anticipating future needs while supplying products that meet its rigorous quality standards. Proffering in excess of 500,000 health and related medical products, The Stevens Company represents many hundreds of suppliers.

The company's name reflects its founder and his legacy, as for the company's ongoing success. James Stevens, the great-great-grandfather of the current President, diverged from the family cooperage to become an apprentice to a surgeon's instrument maker at the young age of 13. After seven years of meticulous tutelage, he received his certificate in 1830 and began to manufacture and distribute surgical instruments under his own name in London, England.

Meeting with success, the company grew and the reigns of leadership were eventually passed to the founder's son, Daniel. Under his able guidance, the company established a Canadian subsidiary in 1874 that would become a successful commercial enterprise in its own right, reaching from Ontario to British Columbia. Located on Wellington Street in downtown Toronto, an early payroll record indicates the total salary for the company's three employees was $30.50 per week.

The company opened its first office in Western Canada in 1889 in Vancouver under the direction of George Stevens, another son of the founder, and an office in Winnipeg was opened the following year. The Vancouver office was the 11th registered business in the Province. Expanding across the west, a Stevens' office was opened in Calgary in 1919. In 2007, the company further expanded it's coverage to include Atlantic Canada, with the acquisition of Pro-Medix Inc. in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Although initially the Canadian based J. Stevens & Son Company, as it was first known, marketed products manufactured by its parent company in England, by the 1920s all ties were severed and the Canadian entity became fully independent, distributing products from Canadian and foreign manufacturers alike.

Daniel Stevens was succeeded at the helm by his son, Paul Stevens. A daughter, Dorothy Stevens, in addition to being involved with the company, also became a well-known artist closely associated with the Ontario College of Art and was a key player in the public drive to establish funding for women artists.

Peter Stevens, son of Paul Stevens, recalls his hands-on training at the company in various capacities before rising in the ranks to become Chairman and President. "I started in the warehouse earning $35.00 a week. It wasn't easy but I learned many things and it ultimately served me very well." The next generation of Stevens is represented by his sons, Jeff Stevens, and Jay Stevens. Jeff also worked his way up through the ranks and took over as the company's President in 2006. Jay is currently the Brand Manager.

The 1960s were an important development period for the company as Peter Stevens explains, "with the advent of universal health care in Canada, our resources were widely tapped to fill the growing needs of the emerging health system." Reflecting that growth, in 1968 the company's Toronto offices were moved to Kipling Avenue in Rexdale, Ontario. Further expansion necessitated a second relocation, to a 40,000 square foot warehouse and facility in Brampton, Ontario. In August 2008, the head office facility expanded by moving to a new 120,000 sq. ft. warehouse located on Railside Drive in Brampton, Ontario. Across Canada, overall floor space occupied by the company totals approximately 240,000 sq. ft.

Government fiscal austerity measures of the late 1980s and early 1990s severely affected suppliers to the health care industry. In response, the company has taken a leading role in developing alternative markets other than hospitals, such as physicians' clinics, laboratories, nursing homes, pharmacies and home health care dealers. As part of the company's new orientation, regional branches were consolidated under one common name in 1995, The Stevens Company Limited.

The company is committed to serving the evolving needs of its customer base with innovative programs designed to reduce costs, enhance service levels and further automate transactions through the use of E.D.I, bar coding, E.F.T and the Internet.

The Stevens Company is proud of the companies and products it represents, and it is committed to working closely with its valued suppliers to service the ever changing needs of its customer base. Stevens continues to sell surgical instruments; however, product offerings have expanded to include many other health-related items.

Working with suppliers, physicians, hospitals and health science professionals, The Stevens Company actively searches out and promotes new products which reflect state-of-the-art technologies, innovation and improvements in design, materials and handling. The company is committed to after sales service and training tailored to support the needs of its customers.

A sound heritage, flexible responses to changing market needs, dedicated personnel and superior service have been the key underpinnings to the established success of The Stevens Company Limited, all the while providing the foundation for a yet stronger future.

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