Obsessions Gift Shop was founded by Alex Barker and Mark Kenna after arriving in Canada from England in 1998 with a vision and a dream. In February of 1998, they started with a small kiosk at Pacific Centre Mall in downtown Vancouver selling unique gift products like funky watches, metal artwork, and men’s accessories.
Within 3 months they opened two more kiosks and by June of that year, they opened their first full-fledged store on Denman Street. By 2006 they grew to four stores located around Downtown Vancouver. Considered one of Vancouver’s premier gift stores, often winning annual awards for ‘Best Gift Shop’, Obsessions now has one prime location in the centre of town on the corner of Dunsmuir and Howe Street.
They realized very early that the ledger books and cash registers they were using to manage their operations as a kiosk business would not offer the long-term functionality they would need as they expanded. So, in the summer of 1998 they began the search for an appropriate retail package based on some recommendations from other retailers in the community.
Alex and Mark did their due diligence and found that Aralco’s POS software system offered the functionality they needed at a cost they could afford. Moreover, they liked the sense of partnership they felt in dealing with Aralco. Alex clarifies, ‘We felt it was very important to partner with a company that really cared about us and would be willing to help us in our desire to grow and thrive. We weren’t just a quick sale to Aralco. I think that level of trust and partnership is apparent when you consider that 8 years later we are still doing business with them.”
Alex goes on to say “I really like the flexible reporting that the Aralco POS system offers. In the fast-paced retail market, you need to understand what products are selling for you and which ones are not. Another key feature is Aralco’s ease-of-use. In the retail industry, you are always dealing with staff turnover. It’s a huge benefit that new staff can become competent users of Aralco’s POS software systems very quickly.