Distributors’ Choice is Thriving Despite Cannibalization of Distribution Companies by Amazon

Tanya Petryshen (centre) with the Distributors’ Choice team at the company’s warehouse

Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

Tanya Petryshen is a dynamic, blue-jeans-wearing, hands-on manager of a successful logistics company. If things become a bit too busy at her 30,000 square feet warehouse on Tomken Rd in Mississauga she comes downstairs from her office and helps her workers pick, pack and ship. She knows how to do all that – after her father, Mike, started the business 26 years ago, she worked in the warehouse for ten years. She said: “My dad wanted to make sure that I knew what I was talking about, so I don’t ask anybody to do what I haven’t already done.”

Mike Petryshen used to work in distribution for Nortel and saw an opportunity in third-party logistics. His idea has proven to be visionary with the current shift towards e-commerce which relies on the kind of logistics that Distributors’ Choice Inc. has mastered.

Distributors’ Choice picks, packs and ships goods, just like Amazon. The company acts as an intermediary between the whole seller, retail seller and end buyer. Many people in Canada think they are ordering from the Home Depot or some other online portals but it’s actually the Petryshens’ company that does the shipping from its own warehouse. Distributors’ Choice also assembles packages and provides gift-bagging and other services.

“Are you better than Amazon?”, I asked Tanya. “I don’t know, I don’t have any robots,” she laughed. But it’s clear that Distributors’ Choice is thriving in the era when Amazon is eating up smaller distribution companies. Tanya Petryshen’s selling point is quick turnaround – the company ships the same day, while many other distributors don’t ship for 48 hours. “In order to retain clients like CIBC for 26 years you have to be on your game,” she said.

Besides CIBC, among Tanya’s clients are Metrospot (owned by Les Salnick), Brinks, NBA, Greensaver, Cookstore, Envy Pillow and other companies that need their products to be picked, packed and shipped.

Distributors’ Choice’s another selling point is that it’s a family business. “A lot of people say they chose us because it’s a family business and really you work harder when your parent is your boss. There is accountability,” noted Tanya. Distributors’ Choice is indeed a big family, with remarkable employee retention rates. Some of the workers have been with the company for as long as 18 years. Mike Petryshen, 80, is still involved in the business and stays on top of its financials and plans.

With the ongoing shift to e-commerce, Tanya remains optimistic about the future. The company is now in its seventh building in 26 years, its warehouse grew from 5000 square feet to 30,000 square feet, which Tanya called “a very manageable size”. “2018 was a fabulous year, 2019 is even better,” she said, “as more people shop online and they need my facility in order to do that. We’re growing.”

Mike Petryshen is well known in the Ukrainian Canadian community. He has been among the founders of the Dormition of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic parish in Mississauga and served as the president of the church’s Executive Council for ten years. He is also an active member of the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Toronto and has been its Director for five years.

Helene and Mike Petryshen

Distributors’ Choice boasts a long list of sponsored charities and events which includes Mississauga North Girls Softball, Toronto Dragon Boat Team, United Way, Mississauga Girls Bantam Hockey, Hazel McCallion Special Olympics and Sick Kids Foundation.