Our History

historyThe Coleman Group of Companies is a family owned enterprise. Coleman passion for the business is intense; their quest to maintain and raise standards has energized and grown the company through four generations.

Established in 1934 by Arthur James and Maggie Coleman, the first Coleman Group enterprise was opened in a former school house in Corner Brook on the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador offering clothing, food and hardware. Business thrived, new sites were opened. Their innovative spirit, still an inspiration to all, brought the first self-service grocery store to Newfoundland. This innovation in grocery retailing in Newfoundland fueled further expansion in the 1960s and 1970s. Colemans entry into the furniture business saw the establishment of Colemans Furniture World.

Major expansion occurred in 1982, when second generation Coleman executives, then leading the thriving company, purchased six retail grocery outlets spanning Newfoundland’s west coast. Insightful understanding of the developing grocery market led to the acquisition of Western Wholesale; the Coleman group could now independently procure, warehouse and distribute to its holdings. Expansion though central to eastern Newfoundland followed.

Today, the Coleman Group includes 12 food, 4 furniture and 2 clothing retail operations throughout Newfoundland along with a wholesale food division. All operations are subsidiaries of Coleman Management Services Limited (CMS). CMS provides the executive, financial, human resources, information technology and property management services to the operating companies. The Food Division, operating under the banner, Colemans, is the largest, fully integrated independent wholesale/retail food operation in Atlantic Canada. Customers looking for furniture, appliance and bedding products are serviced by four retail operations operating under the Colemans BrandSource Home Furnishings banner. Two retail clothing stores operate under the banner Arthur James Clothing Company and provide customers with casual clothing, active wear, and selected sporting and outdoor equipment. The combined operations of the Coleman Group employ over 800 team members with steady growth patterns suggesting continued additions to that number. We have earned highly valued recognition as a successful competitor not only in the Atlantic Canada marketplace but in the wider national forum, having proudly received the prestigious distinction of being named Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies by an independent panel of experts for the last 6 consecutive years. Expertly led today by third generation Colemans who are now supported by fourth generation entrepreneurs, the Coleman Group continues to find inspiration in Arthur James’ and Maggie’s keen business instincts that were unwaveringly grounded in integrity and committed to excellence.