Border Giant Purchases Building in Grand Marais
Border Giant, Inc. of Thunder Bay, ON, CA has purchased the property on the west side of Grand Marais that formerly housed Benny’s Collision Center. Border Giant had been renting space on the property for a year as it worked to establish its US presence.
The company, which started in late 2017 in a literal garage, is licensed and bonded as a common carrier with Canadian and US authorities and as a Canadian Customs Broker. It originated to bring the cost and service benefit of technology to the logistics of e-commerce to small sellers and consumers in Canada. It is also registered as a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency with the United States Postal Service.
US regulations required the firm to have a physical presence on this side of the border. “We had considerable difficulty finding commercial space for lease in Cook County for three years,” said Border GIant CEO James Foulds. It leased the Benny’s property in the Spring of last year.
The history of e-commerce shows that when the behemoth Amazon promoted the idea of free shipping, the industry took off. Unfortunately, the free shipping didn’t include Canadian destinations. So consumers in places like Thunder Bay had their packages delivered to receiving agents on the US side of the border, which then required a road trip to pick up the packages. It also required them to pay Minnesota sales tax on their purchase.
As Border Giant developed software to make the receiving of packages in Canada more streamlined the Covid Pandemic struck. So it began carrier operations to assist Canadians, unable to easily cross the border to retrieve their orders, by picking up the packages in the US and bringing them across the border to Thunder Bay. Having the former Benny’s facility during this time allowed the company to develop its services.
The export of packages to the US is also a challenge Border Giant is addressing. Many small e-commerce sellers in Canada face significant challenges selling to US customers, from extremely high shipping costs to the handling of customer returns at a reasonable cost.
Border Giant’s status as a carrier allows it to consolidate its Canadian customers' packages for export, and bring them across the border to enter them into the US package carrier systems (USPS, UPS, FedEx) for delivery to US consumers. Its status as a CMRA with the US Postal Service means that a program for customer returns to Canadian sellers may soon be available.
Foulds has been remodeling the former body shop over the past 12 months and is a frequent visitor to Grand Marais. He expects to expand the export services from Canada within the next 60 days which will bring a new level of activity to the building.