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Effort to cut shoplifting losses led to distributorship acquisition.

Effort to cut shoplifting losses led to distributorship acquisition

A Kenora businessman's efforts to stem shoplifting losses has turned into a profitable sideline for his company.

Five years ago Don Beasant, owner of Donny "B" - a Radio Shack franchise and Sony dealership - installed a point-of-sale cash register system and discovered that his operation was losing about $45,000 annually in stolen cassette tapes and compact disks.

"I was actually going to get rid of the cassettes and CDs when I heard about the (Lift) system through the grapevine," Beasant recalls.

With the Lift aluminium storage system which is manufactured in Vienna, Austria, cassettes, compact disks and video tapes are displayed full-front in locked storage cabinets.

Beasant examined the system during a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev. and said he "fell in love with it."

The system has since reduced the losses at his Kenora establishment and Beasant has ended up as the Canadian distributor for the product.

Lift previously sold to the Canadian market from its New York office, Beasant recalls. "I saw an opportunity and I went for it."

After receiving the distributorship, Beasant drew upon the many contacts he had made during his years as a dee-jay and as a designer of hotel disco rooms to begin building Lift Canada's operations.

Today Beasant operates offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Kenora, as well as a warehouse in Toronto. The four offices have allowed Beasant to expand his market.

One reason for such a quick expansion has been Lift Canada's use of an elaborate telemarketing system.

"Most of our work is done over the facsimile machine," Beasant says.

Through the system a prospective buyer can fax Lift Canada a diagram of his floor space and he will receive a three-dimensional diagram of a display proposal from Lift Austria within two days.

Beasant credits Lift Canada's relationship with its Austrian parent company for a great deal of his success.

"It's like one big family," he says. "With other franchises they only wine you and dine you and feed you some numbers for the coming year. But the support we get from Vienna is incredible."

Lift Austria also provides assistance with the cost of advertising. Beasant says he advertises in such major publications as Billboard magazine.


While the Lift system costs up to three times more than the wooden display cases most often used by music stores, the reduction in theft and the improved use of floor space makes up for the expense, according to Beasant.

Randy Collins, owner/manager of Changes, a Thunder Bay retailer of compact disks and cassettes, says he has utilized the Lift system since Changes first opened its doors about two years ago.

Collins says the space saved by using the Lift system in his 1,300-square-foot store allows the business to accommodate an extra 100 to 200 customers at any time.

"It doesn't take any more time than any other theft-prevention system," he adds.

The most commonly used method of theft prevention is to insert individual tapes and CDs into cardboard or plastic "long boxes" which are displayed in wooden racks supplied by cassette and compact disk suppliers.

However, Beasant claims that the "long box" system is not foolproof, it is ugly and it "doesn't bring out the best in the product" because customers do not see the covers of cassettes and CDs.

"Artists spend a lot of time and companies spend a lot of money to make these (tape and CD) covers attractive," he points out.

Lift also manufactures smaller storage units for use in the home. The units are made from grooved aluminium plates for compact disks and grooved plastic for cassettes.

PHOTO : Pictured here is Lift Canada's Vidplay display unit, similar in design to display units for cassette tapes and compact discs.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Lift Canada's aluminium storage systems for compact disks and cassettes deter shoplifting
Author:Krejlgaard, Chris
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Jun 1, 1991
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