February 25, 2022
By Haly Baran
2022 is not just another regular year for AD Electrical – Canada member Franklin Empire—this organization has reached a landmark accomplishment that few businesses see in their lifetimes. The family owned-and-operated distributor has officially achieved 80 years in business serving the electrical, industrial, and construction sectors.
With a legacy dating back to 1942, Franklin Empire was founded in Montreal, Quebec and uniquely maintains the same founding family ownership today, eight decades later. The company’s strong emphasis on quality and relationships with customers, suppliers, and organizational partners (including AD and non-profit trade association, Electro-Federation Canada) have helped to quickly catapult Franklin Empire to becoming the largest independently owned electrical distributor in Canada. Today, with over 500 employees on staff and an inventory investment exceeding $35M, the organization operates in Quebec and Ontario with 23 branch locations and five assembly and repair shops.
To commemorate this significant milestone, Franklin Empire hosted a virtual celebration and awards ceremony, bringing together staff, suppliers, partners, and friends. During the online gathering, the company revealed its plans to upsize to a larger facility due to steadily increasing volume, having outgrown the building the organization currently calls ’home’. Also featured during the festivities were two dedicated AD suppliers—Mersen and Stanpro, each of whom were recognized as Franklin Empire’s top suppliers of the year.
Bernie Backman, co-president of Franklin Empire, spoke on how being a member of the AD community has positively contributed to the company’s robust business model and organizational longevity.
“Our membership within AD has proven to be instrumental to our success throughout many of the years we’ve been in business—not only has it provided us with the necessary buying power to contend with the nationals, but the networking opportunities and best practice sharing within the alliance have truly been invaluable to our company,” relayed Backman.
In addition to Franklin Empire’s participation in AD, Cara Backman, marketing manager, credits the business’ family-oriented, hands-on approach as key contributors to the organization’s endurance.
“Here at Franklin Empire, the ethos of the company is based on instilling a highly hands-on approach from the top down, and always aiming to cultivate a strong culture of family with employees at all level,” explained Backman. “No matter a team member’s tenure or position, we make a real effort to foster a sense of belonging—which has led us to earn an above-average staff retention rate. We have even had people retire with us after 50 years of working at Franklin Empire—it’s truly an amazing feeling to know that our staff are as devoted to us as we are to them.”
As one of the founding members of AD Electrical – Canada, Franklin Empire has remained an active partner within the AD community since 1993, and most recently expanded its membership status to also encompass the AD Industrial & Safety – Canada division. AD is proud to champion members like Franklin Empire—persistently capitalizing on our size, scale, and robust financial systems to invest in resources to help independent distributors achieve success today, and every day. On behalf of AD, congratulations to Franklin Empire on this meaningful achievement—we look forward to another 80 years of winning together.
Photo Details (L-R, top to bottom): Franklin Empire Marketing Manager Cara Backman, Administrative Manager Les Backman, Co-president Clifford Backman, Purchaser Lisa Backman, and Co-president Bernie Backman virtually celebrated Franklin Empire’s milestone anniversary.