La Canadienne Brand Acquired by Private Equity Firm

Montreal-based footwear brand La Canadienne has been wholly acquired by an investor group led by Champlain Financial Corp. Terms were not disclosed for the deal, which closed earlier this month.

This marks Champlain Financial’s first foray into the footwear business. The private equity firm is focused on Canadian small and mid-market acquisitions and its diverse portfolio includes outerwear brand Kanuk, as well as canned soup manufacturing front-runner Baxters Canada Inc.

To ensure the future of its new investment, Champlain has tapped the expertise of two industry veterans: Nicholas Martire, who will take on the role of CEO at La Canadienne, and Nicolas Topiol, who has been named chairman. Topiol is currently the CEO of Maison Christian Lacroix, and Martire is a former Aldo Group executive, who most recently served as SVP of international.

In addition, founders Penny and Gianni Schuster will remain with the brand.

“We’re very excited about bringing on new partners to help take the company to the next level,” Penny Schuster said in a statement. “With Champlain and top-tier leaders joining the family, we can now start to focus on expansion.”

La Canadienne
A winter look from La Canadienne.
CREDIT: La Canadienne

Founded in 1961, La Canadienne is best known for its collection of women’s winter fashion products, as well as its waterproof boots, which continue to be manufactured at its factory in Montreal. The brand also operates two flagship stores in the city’s Downtown and Outremont neighborhoods, and it has a growing online and wholesale business with major U.S. retailers, including Nordstrom, Dillard’s and Bloomingdale’s

Champlain, however, sees opportunities for the brand on a global scale. “We believe La Canadienne is a great example of a local brand that . . . still has immense potential to grow outside its own backyard,” said Champlain partner Scott Jackson in a statement. “We’re looking forward to introducing La Canadienne to new markets and to the next generation of devotees.”

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