7 October 2013
Pareto Corp closes down
TORONTO—Pareto Corp, a marketing company whose offerings included print services for direct mail and in-store promo, filed an assignment for bankruptcy on Oct. 2.

The company was affected by a sluggish economy and increased competition that drove down pricing and profits, according to an email from The Riverside Company, the U.S. private equity firm that acquired Pareto in 2011.

Riverside purchased Pareto for a reported $125 million. Although it invested capital in operational and technology upgrades and oversaw several management changes earlier this year, the equity firm says it was unable to turn the business around and lost its entire investment.

Phonecalls to Pareto were not returned. According to a post by the Pareto account on the company's Facebook page, 220 workers plus over 1,500 members of Pareto's national part-time field staff are out of work. The company had offices in Toronto and Montreal, and a production facility in Richmond Hill, Ont.

"We were working hard to reset and create a better, smarter, faster and further model," reads the post, referencing the company's slogan. "Our banking partners decided to change direction and within a matter of hours the 10+ year old Pareto marketing machine that grew to over $100 million+ was no more."

The company, specializing in in-store shopper marketing near the point of purchase, had been in business for over 10 years and was publicly traded until its acquisition in 2011. It was co-founded by printing veteran Gord Griffiths, who is now with The Lowe-Martin Group. Earlier this year, former chief operating officer Michael Bechtol was appointed president and chief executive officer, taking over from founder Kerry Shapansky, who transitioned to chairman of Pareto's board of directors. 

The company's clients included Capital One, L'Oreal, and Shopper's Drug Mart. The first meeting of creditors is scheduled for Oct. 23, according to documents from trustee KPMG.
Comments:
5. Googler says:
14 May 2015 at 10:37 AM
I had the misfortune of working there as a part-time contractor. It was quickly apparent that the company was a mismanaged mess. A senior team lead quit days after I joined, it was impossible for the staff to get the info they needed, and they were very slow to pay. I'm surprised that they lasted as long as they did.
4. Norm De Plume says:
16 October 2013 at 3:30 PM
Up until the afternoon of the day they shut down, the employees placing that work did not know they were going bankrupt. The warning signs were certainly there, but there had been several rounds of layoffs and they were told that the downsizing was mostly over. At the employee meeting in August when it was announced that they had lost the Molson account (a "mutual decision", if you can believe that - how's that for spin?), the CEO told everyone "the company is strong."
3. Postive Thinker says:
9 October 2013 at 4:37 PM
I am glad they are gone. This article incorrectly states that Pareto was the victim of lower prices due to increased competition. Pareto themselves drove the price down as they chased work and became a victim of their own stupidity. They relied upon novice staff who misprinted work and screwed up promotions and customers walked as a result. The market will be better of without them.
2. Losers says:
9 October 2013 at 3:28 PM
Previous owners/management were a bunch of toads. But I guess they were able to scam their way out.
1. Strange Brew says:
9 October 2013 at 8:39 AM
Another bunch of printers and suppliers left with a bad debt. They were placing work right up to the time they closed the doors.
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