Vancouver Umbrella manufactures and distributes rain, patio and market umbrellas to retailers all over North America. We distribute to over 700 retailers in Canada and over 400 in BC alone.
We are the largest corporate umbrella supplier in Canada for rain and outdoor market umbrellas, as well as the leader in innovative designs of fabrics and frames.
Community & Involvement
Vancouver Umbrella is a supporter of many non-profit, community organizations and schools including: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Vancouver College, St. Georges, Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Vancouver), Metro Soccer, Westside Minor Football, Youth AllStar Sports, and Vancouver Thunderbirds Hockey Association. Vancouver Umbrella is also a proud sponsor of the local children’s visual and performing arts institute, Arts Umbrella.
Vancouver Umbrella was awarded the official umbrella sponsor of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Our creative team designed a full line of custom umbrellas for the Canadian retail market, and sold many of our Olympic umbrellas internationally. Vancouver Umbrella created special custom co-branded Olympic umbrellas for many high profile companies, including: RBC, Petro Canada, Bell, Vincor, Epcor, Molson, Government of BC, IOC, Canadian Government, HBC, Workopolis, Trans Canada, Visa & Teckcominco.
Sponsorship of Arts Umbrella
Arts Umbrella is Canada’s leading visual and performing arts institute for young people, offering classes that include dance, music, theatre, painting, architecture, sculpture, animation, video and photography. Their mandate is to deliver the highest quality visual and performing arts training to young people in the community, regardless of their financial means.
Arts Umbrella strives to remove barriers to participation in the arts faced by children with lower socio-economic status; therefore 85% of their students participate through free outreach programs. The outreach programs frequently partner with community organizations and social service groups to meet the needs of “at risk” children and youth. They offer free workshops for inner city school classes at the Granville Island location and they also offer instruction for youth in the Strathcona area and the Broadway Corridor area.
Vancouver Umbrella supplies Arts Umbrella with their corporate umbrellas, which serve as gifts to their donors. Donors are extremely important to the not-for-profit organization, as they raise 55% of their annual operating budget of $4.1million through the support of these corporations, individuals and foundations. Vancouver Umbrella also donates umbrellas to the art classes for the children to decorate or paint for art projects.
For further information about Arts Umbrella, please visit: www.artsumbrella.com
The story of Vancouver Umbrella dates back to 1932, when the Great Grandfather of Vancouver Umbrella’s current President, Shana Hochfelder, began what would become a family legacy. Isadore Flader was a Polish immigrant who began his career repairing umbrellas door-to-door in Toronto. Although the business grew relatively quickly, Isadore had dreams of creating something even bigger. When he heard from a friend about the rainy west coast of Canada, he decided that it was time for a move. He moved his family, including his four young children, to Vancouver and opened Vancouver Umbrella’s first manufacturing facility and retail store on West Pender Street in the heart of the city. As Isadore’s children got older, his three sons began working in the shop, and with the extra help of his family, the business flourished.
Between the 1930’s and the 1970’s, Vancouver Umbrella imported umbrella frames and fabrics from worldwide sources and maintained the final production (cutting, sewing and assembly) locally in the factory on Pender Street. That period saw the business undergo massive growth - garden umbrellas and new designs of rain umbrellas were added to the product mix, and the customer base grew exponentially. By the late 1960’s, products from Vancouver Umbrella could be found at Simpson’s, the Bay, Eaton’s, Woodward’s and other major retailers across the country. In 1972, the manufacturing and retail shop were moved to a location on West Hastings to accommodate the need for expansion.
At about the same time, the cost of materials and labour in Canada began to rise and the inexpensive Japanese market emerged. As a result, the Fladers began importing frames and fabric from Japan, and soon after, they began exploring the idea of production in Asia as well. By the late 1970’s, Vancouver Umbrella was importing over 50% of its rain umbrellas as finished product from Japan. Slowly the focus began to shift to importing all of the umbrellas as finished product, and there became less and less of a need for the factory in Vancouver.
1986 was a turning point for Vancouver Umbrella. Isadore Flader, after many years of tireless work, decided to retire and appointed Peter Hochfelder, the husband of Isadore’s granddaughter, to continue the tradition he had started over 50 years prior. Times were changing - the economy was hitting a recession and business was slowing. So, Peter decided to take the company in a new direction – he chose to focus the company on wholesaling umbrellas to the many customers they had developed, divesting of the retail store that had been a fixture of downtown Vancouver for so many years. In addition, Peter began importing the entire product line, a decision that required closing the local factory, but eventually led to an excellent partnership with an overseas manufacturing facility.
After a year of adjustment to the new leadership, Vancouver Umbrella began a major growth phase. The company secured a selection of new Chinese suppliers and developed new major retail accounts. The business was run out of the Hochfelder’s home for a short period before an office and warehouse space was purchased in Richmond, BC (south of Vancouver) in the early 1990’s.
The family’s involvement in the business continued when Peter Hochfelder’s asked his daughter, Shana, to start working full time with Vancouver Umbrella in 1992. Shana’s first mandate was to initiate corporate relationships, and when she landed a local brewery in British Columbia as her first corporate client, she knew she was onto something. Since she began, she has not only expanded the business to include production of corporate umbrellas, but she has also grown the retail customer base and generated new products with innovative patented designs for frames, handles and fabrics. Shana Hochfelder became company President in 2004, and today the business boasts multi-million dollar annual sales volumes from all over North America. Despite the many changes over the years, Vancouver Umbrella has continued to build on the legacy and tradition Isadore began back in 1932, providing the highest quality products and delivering exceptional service to its customers.
Quality & Design
Vancouver Umbrella has a long-standing partnership with a rain umbrella manufacturing facility in Guangdong, China. Renowned for uncompromising quality and reliable service, our unique relationship with this strategic partner allows us unmatched control over the quality and design of our umbrellas.
Vancouver Umbrella boasts of the finest suppliers in the world for sustainable Indonesian hardwood products. They are the largest manufacturer of market umbrellas in the world. The company sets itself apart by using only the best quality wood imported from Indonesia and Malaysia. They also re-forest the lumber they use and work with The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is an international non-profit organization that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests.
Both manufacturing facilities abide by the standards set out in the U.S. Labour Code, and to ensure the highest of standards are being adhered to, Vancouver Umbrella employs a quality control agent in Hong Kong to oversee production at both facilities. The President of Vancouver Umbrella also has on-site involvement in the production process, visiting the facilities quarterly to do quality checks and to communicate new design ideas for rain umbrella frames, fabrics and handles.
With two full warehouses stocked to the rafters at all times with both rain and patio umbrellas, Vancouver Umbrella can provide retailers with same-day (for the Lower Mainland) or next-day (for the rest of Canada) service. Due to our relationship with our factories, we are also able to offer speedy turnaround times for the production of corporate branded umbrellas, for both local and off shore production. We are most proud of being able to deliver on time.
A true testament to the consistent quality and service that Vancouver Umbrella provides is the length of our relationships with our customers, including London Drugs and Shopper’s Drug Mart (both over 25 years). Another indicator is the rate of return on our products – which we estimate to be less than 1%.
Sustainable Business Practices
Vancouver Umbrella has been a part of the business community in BC for 82 years, our commitment to ethical business practices applies to our partners both domestically and internationally. Vancouver Umbrella ensures that all of our suppliers act as environmentally and socially sustainable operations as well. Our wood market umbrella supplier, re-forests all the lumber used in the manufacturing of our products, and also works with The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international non-profit organization that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests. Vancouver Umbrella uses as much recycled content in our products as possible. All of our packaging is made from 100% recycled cardboard and plastic.
Further, our offshore manufacturing plant strictly abides by the standards set out in the U.S. Labour Code. To ensure that the highest standards of social conduct are met and quality workmanship is being adhered to, Vancouver Umbrella employs a quality control agent in Hong Kong to oversee production at both facilities. Our core management team also has regular on-site involvement in the production process, ensuring that the facility operates according to the appropriate codes of conduct. Vancouver Umbrella continually passes sustainability audits both locally and on our offshore premise.