Canada Goose plans to grow manufacturing presence in Winnipeg, hire more staff

Canada Goose plans to double staff at a new factory in Winnipeg by early next year as it lays the groundwork for a bigger international expansion.

President and CEO Dani Reiss says a new facility opened last month and already employs 80 people.

He hopes to see that level spike — first to about 160 employees by March with a further goal of 364 people working there by the end of March 2017.

“We want to be able to support growth in the markets … where we’re growing very quickly,” Reiss said in an interview.

The company says hiring is being done in partnership with the Manitoba government, which has helped support the training of employees.

Canada Goose has been quickly building its capacity over the past two years after securing a deal with U.S. private investment firm Bain Capital, which took a majority stake in the brand.

The company was founded in 1957 by Reiss’ grandfather, but over the past decade, the brand has become a household name, featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition and in various Hollywood movies.

Last January, Canada Goose purchased a 45,000 square-foot facility in Toronto from a company that was making its garments under contract.

Its new Winnipeg factory is significantly larger — measuring 103,000 square feet. It’s located at 1455 Mountain Ave., just north of the company’s existing operations in the city.

In total, Canada Goose now has two factories in Winnipeg and two in Toronto. The company also contracts out manufacturing work to about 20 other factories across the country.

All of its products are made in Canada, with the exception of its gloves, which are manufactured in China. The company has said it can’t find a Canadian facility with the technology to make down-filled gloves.

Reiss said the made-in-Canada brand is focused on making sure it can meet the growing demands for its jackets and outerwear in the United States, which is now its fastest growing market.

“The (U.S.) for the first time this year is going to be bigger than Canada in terms of overall market size,” he said.

Beyond North America and Europe, Reiss is weighing expansion at a tempered pace.

“In a few years, we feel like we’d be in a pretty good position to enter the Chinese market,” he said.

“When we do it, we want to do it properly.”

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