Owner, LUX Beauty Boutique
Jennifer Grimm has 15 years of retail expertise as the owner and CVO of LUX Beauty Boutique, an independent specialty store selling high-end, selectively distributed cosmetic brands in Edmonton, Canada. A born entrepreneur, Jennifer is passionate about all matters of retail, from business strategy to store design, which culminates in creating an exceptional customer experience. Always innovating, she and her team have built sales per square foot to three times industry average, and are actively expanding to omni-channel commerce in multiple store locations. Jennifer graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in Business Commerce.
Co-owner, Heirloom Linens
Bob Ianson, along with his wife Joan, are the owners of Heirloom Linens in Victoria. The company was founded in 1995 and is well-respected in the Victoria community for its focus on customer service and strong online presence. Bob began his career with Woodward’s Department store as a stock boy in the linen department and when he left fifteen years later, he was the bedding buyer for several millions of dollars of product. A two year stint with Pacific Linen in Seattle only reinforced his desire to launch his own operation. Heirloom Linens celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015 and is looking ahead to bigger and better things.
Owner, Mabel’s Fables (ex-officio)
Eleanor LeFave is from a family of school teachers and grew up surrounded by books. She studied art history and design at York University. She and her sister, a teacher-librarian, opened children’s bookstore Mabel’s Fables, in Toronto in 1988. Eleanor served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Booksellers Association from 2003 to 2007 and was V.P. and President for 2006 and 2007. Eleanor now serves on Retail Council of Canada’s MySTORE (independent retail division) Advisory Board.
President & CEO, Toy Jungle
Misti and her husband Gary left a career on the cruise lines as entertainers to begin their entrepreneurial journey with an indoor play centre called “The Gator Pit” in 1997. Soon after, their first retail store “Toy Jungle” was born of their passion to marry a children’s story they were creating to an interesting and fun retail experience. They later also purchased the second oldest toy store in Canada called the Toybox and continue to pursue creating innovative retail concepts and children’s stories.
As well as serving as co-chair for the Retail Council Independent Advisory Board, Misti also serves on the board of the Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada.
President, Take a Hike
Diane Petryna is a passionate independent retailer who understands the challenges and rewards of running her own business. For the past 19 years she’s owned and operated Take A Hike, an outdoor lifestyle store in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Despite facing many challenges along the way, Diane’s business is thriving and she continues to do what she loves.
Diane holds a Master’s degree from the University of Waterloo, previously worked as a small business advisor at Confederation College, and for several years was self-employed as a research and planning consultant. She is one of only eight independent retailers inducted into the RCC’s Retail Hall of Fame.
Her secrets in how to build a successful independent store will be shared in an upcoming book she’s co-authoring with retail specialist Barbara Crowhurst.
Vice President, Golda's Kitchen Inc.
Fred is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants Association & the Certified General Accountants Association with over 25 years’ experience in a variety of industries including manufacturing, property management, professional services, software development and retail.
Founded in 1999, Fred is co-owner of Golda’s Kitchen, Canada’s leading online retailer for cookware, bakeware and cake decorating products based in Mississauga. Golda’s Kitchen has been honoured by the Canadian Gift and Tableware Association as Kitchenware Retailer of the Year.
In 2013, Fred became a Fellow of the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada. He was inducted into the Canadian Retail Hall of Fame by the Retail Council of Canada in 2012. In 2003 he received the CGA Ontario distinguished service award for his extensive volunteer efforts with the accounting association and the local community.
Currently is a member of the Advisory Group for the MyStore Division of the Retail Council of Canada. He is also volunteers as the Treasurer of his local Tennis club, and was elected as Treasurer of the Milton Federal Liberal Riding Association. Previously he has been involved with several organizations including acting as Treasurer of the Lesbian Gay Community Appeal, Treasurer for the Gay and Lesbian Counseling Centre, Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Refugee Information Centre. He has also acted as an auditor to the campaign of an MP and an agent to the campaign of an MPP.
He was also very active for CGA Ontario and has sat on the Discipline Committee, was a member of Discipline Tribunals, lectured, marked student assignments, and invidulated student exams. He also spent 10 years in various roles with CGA Toronto Chapter becoming Chair in 2001-2002.
President, Robert Simmonds Inc.
Paul Simmonds has been in the retail clothing and footwear business for over 40 years, all at the independent level.
In 1998, Mr. Simmonds founded his own independent clothing business and has since expanded four times in different markets affiliated with the company’s core business.
Mr. Simmonds has been on the past boards of Junior Achievement, Women in Transition House and was a past member of the Board of Directors of The Fredericton Community Foundation, which serves the greater Fredericton area. This Foundation has established a fund for emerging youth, to which Robert Simmonds Clothing donates a portion of annual sales.
In addition, Robert Simmonds is associated with many local charities, from supporting the homeless, to helping many other non-profit organizations.
Mr. Simmonds has been a Retail Council of Canada member for Seventeen years and was previously a ten-year member in his last role as managing partner of an independent clothing store. Mr. Simmonds is current co-chair of the Canadian Independent retail committee My Store and a current board member of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in New Brunswick As well as VP of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Simmonds has lived in Fredericton, New Brunswick, for most of his life and graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Business degree as well from The Wallace McCain institute in the Entrepreneurs Leaders Program.