You hear about it occasionally, in the Business pages of the newspaper. A plucky little locally-based, family owned business sells its soul to some huge multinational conglomerate. Sure, the brand name and the stores and the products go on. But do they go on the same as they used to be?
Mac Voisin in happier days: Once the dynamic head of Canada’s one and only
M&M Meats, he is now merely the company’s figurehead. And how long that
will last is anybody’s guess. If it’s the usual corporate takeover goodwill
gesture to customers, I give Mac a max of one year to full retirement.
Usually not. And I’ll tell you why…
The friendly face of Mac Voisin, fatherly head of M&M Meat Shops, may still appear from time to time in the TV and print ads for the company’s 400 stores across Canada. But Mac and his family have quietly sold out their ownership interest in the iconic Canadian brand to huge, grey, faceless capital holdings company that has vast interests across North America and in Europe.
Will this mean changes in what thousands upon thousands of faithful M&M customers will find in their local Shop? Probably not. At least, not for now. Voisin, we are told, will remain with the company as an ‘adviser’. Good move: He’s done a great job of developing both the retail operation and product line of M&M up to now.
But will those classy summer Community Charity BBQ events disappear? Will M&M sponsorship of other activities, local and national, also evaporate? What about the Senior’s Discount? And the M&M Max Club Card? And what about the adorable little M&M Penguin mascot? Is he now an endangered species? This has been the sad case in other takeovers of this kind.
Big changes are already afoot behind the scenes, where Voisin has been displaced from his financial and management positions in favour of a new CEO and CFO from outside the M&M corporate structure. Their avowed goal is not to maintain and enhance the M&M experience we’ve all come to know – some of us, love – but to, “…realizing the growth potential of the company.”
Decisions will henceforth be made based on what benefits the shareholders most and promotes growth most effectively – not on what, as Mac used to say, he would feed his own family, like they used to be.
So, if you notice changes in M&M that seem ‘out of character’ in the coming weeks, months and years, you’ll now know what it’s all about…
~ Maggie J.