Tonitex has been incorporated since July 1982. After working for A.Stein & Son for a few years selling textiles from the trunk of his car, Anthony Sciortino founded the company. Maureen, his colleague at A.Stein & son's also joins to form a fruitful collaboration.
In the beginning the trade is maintained thanks to visiting fabric stores across Quebec and the Maritimes. But by the mid-80s, the new Chabanel "garment district" is booming. Always acting as an intermediary between the customer and the manufacturer, Tonitex provides the manufacturers but also the workers who would come at lunch time for a bargain per kilo!
Synthetic wool, or polar fleece is invented by Malden in 1979. However it's not until 1985 that Patagonia launches its first fleece vest.
In 1989, Canada and the US signed a Free Trade Agreement and interest in this new product becomes global.
On our side of the border, Huntingdon Mills establishes itself as the producer of choice for this product. Seizing the opportunity, Tony negotiates a distribution agreement and Tonitex is off to the races. Distribution warehouses are established in Vancouver and Seattle in 1995. Tonitex.com website gets launched late 1996, before Google!
Unfortunately, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, several tariffs are imposed on overseas imports and the manufacturing sector, and several other textile manufacturers are forced to close, including Huntingdon Mills. The Tonitex warehouses on the west coast must close as well. Other products will take their place without ever repeating the success of the Yukon Fleece.
Tony returns as a salesman on the road. Only now by plane! He now visits textile stores with his new sample card system. He sells a wide variety of fashion fabrics which are often manufacturing closeouts.
Naturally the amount and variety of fabrics increases and makes the existing price lists out of date. To solve this challenge, Maureen establishes a rack-based sample system and completed it in 2013 with a color-based pricing system which we are well known for.
Today, Tonitex is one of Canada's leading textile wholesalers. We have a warehouse and office in Montreal on St. Laurent Boulevard but sell across Canada and the USA.
The last years have shown textiles coming back to life. Many small and medium sized businesses are coming in person and online to make great savings. Do the same, we will welcome you to our "tightly knit family"!
See you soon