La Maison Simons is a family-owned retail business that sells men’s and women’s apparel at an array of price points. Its department stores offer a wide variety of products from lingerie to evening wear, including sportswear, outerwear and business attire.
In addition, La Maison Simons designs clothing for seven affordably priced private labels that target customers from teens to adults: twik, DJAB, ICÔNE, Le 31, Contemporaine, i.FiV5 and miiyu. The company also sells accessories for the home and interior decorating.
The history of La Maison Simons began in 1840 when John Simons and James Orkney opened a dry goods store on the corner of St. Jean and St. Angèle streets in Old Quebec, stocked primarily with European textiles. It was called Simons & Orkney. In 1870, the store was moved to 20 Côte de la Fabrique, where it remains to this day, along with the company’s head office.
Over the years, the store’s name was changed to reflect its various business partners: Simons & Orkney became Simons & Foulds in 1865, followed by Simons & Minguy in 1898. In 1934, the Simons family became the sole owners of the business. This period coincided with the rising popularity of ready-to-wear clothing, which led the business to focus on this niche rather than fabric.
Beginning in 1961, La Maison Simons began to expand, opening a second store in the Place Ste-Foy shopping mall.
In 1999, the company expanded outside Quebec City for the first time in its history, opening stores on St. Catherine Street in downtown Montreal and at the Carrefour de l’Estrie shopping centre in Sherbrooke.
After opening more stores in the province, La Maison Simons launched its e-commerce site in 2010, making its merchandise available to customers across Canada. Two years later, the first store outside Quebec was established in Alberta’s West Edmonton Mall.
As of 2018, La Maison Simons had 15 stores, including nine in Quebec, three in Alberta, two in Ontario and one in British Columbia. Peter Simons is president and CEO of the company, which he co-owns with his brother Richard, vice-president of merchandising. They are the fifth generation of the family to run La Maison Simons. In May 2018, however, the company opened its share capital to outside investors for the first time when the Quebec government and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec invested a total of $125 million to support La Maison Simons in its e-commerce activities.
Froment, Dominique. “« Si mes enfants ne prennent pas ma relève, ce n’est pas grave ! » – Peter Simons, La Maison Simons” Les Affaires, Médias Transcontinental S.E.N.C., 21 April 2011, https://www.lesaffaires.com/operation-releve/capitale-nationale/-si-mes-enfants-ne-prennent-pas-ma-releve-ce-n-est-pas-grave—–peter-simons-la-maison-simons/529349.
Gagné, Louis. “Québec investit près de 100 M$ dans Simons” Radio-Canada, Société Radio-Canada, 29 May 2018, https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1103757/investissement-gouvernement-quebec-maison-simons-transformation-numerique.
Guimond, Josée. “Simons: le début d’une tradition” Le Soleil, Groupe Capitales Médias, 3 October 2015, https://www.lesoleil.com/archives/simons-le-debut-dune-tradition-73a3aa1adb073b9aa32f411ca23716ec.
Madeleine Goubau, Contributor