By Jesse Robitaille
Peter Maresch – the grandson of famed philatelic collector and dealer Richard Maresch – has big plans for the next phase of the Toronto-based family business.
The business will be moving from its fifth-floor Yonge Street office to a new headquarters about 30 minutes north of downtown in Aurora, Ont. The new office, which they’ll be moving to at the end of September, is unit six of 2 Vata Ct.
“We’ve outgrown the space,” said Maresch at his Orapex dealer table on May 7. “Stamps are coming in by the truckloads. They used to come in briefcases; now they’re coming in truckloads. It’s great, but it’s just too difficult to get them in and out.”
MAIL SALE, RETAIL & BEYOND
Maresch said the business previously ran a mail sale when its office was located on the main floor of the office building at 6075 Yonge St.
“The majority was our material because we had a retail store, but when we went from a storefront on the main level to up on the fifth floor, we weren’t getting too much traffic rolling in,” he said.
“The auctions were keeping us busy. They went well and we were very happy with them, but it just got so expensive producing a catalogue and mailing a catalogue out. We were working for Canada Post and the printers.”
One of the wonders of technology is the Stamp Auction Network, which is billed as the No. 1 resource for online philatelic auctions.
The Stamp Auction Network system is what R. Maresch & Son uses today.
“We can do the same thing, but we don’t have to mail a catalogue out, and we don’t even have to produce a catalogue,” added Maresch.
LEASE IS UP, TIME TO MOVE
Maresch’s wife Melanie, who also joined Peter at the dealer table, said technology also limits the need for a physical storefront.
“You don’t have to have a storefront,” she said. “Technology really helps us to do both (auctions and retail) again, where the tediousness of both the auction aspect and the retail aspect were so manually labour intensive we had to gear towards one before. With the Stamp Auction Network system, now we can do both again.”
When the lease was up for the business’ fifth-floor Yonge Street office, the Maresches decided it was “time to move.”
‘A WHOLE NEW PHASE’
Melanie said it’s the beginning of a “whole new phase of the life of the company,” adding their children are beginning to spend time in the office.
“We’re sort of grooming the potential for a fourth generation and starting a new chapter,” she said, adding their son is eight years old and their daughter is six.
“They’re interested in bits and pieces of it,” added Peter. “You have to start on the ground level. You can’t know it all right from the top.”
Even Melanie admitted she’s beginning to become more involved in the stamp business.
“I’m starting to learn the business a bit,” she said, although she has a career of her own and doesn’t work solely at the office.
STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM
Maresch was about 10 years old when he began collecting stamps under the guidance of his father, William (known by friends and family as “Bill”).
“I used to wash stamps; we’d take bag-loads of stamps on piece and fill the bathtub and soak them off and bundle them all up, and then dad would send them on down to Jim Sissons (another Toronto stamp dealer) and we’d sell them through there,” said Maresch. “Then dad would come back and give us the money for them, but he paid for all the stamps.”
Maresch’s grandfather Richard, a collector since 1904, established the business in 1924 in Vienna, Austria. “Bill” joined in on the fun in the ’50s.
“Dad started doing the actions in ’57,” said Maresch. “We did do retail for quite a few years, but the auction just took over, so we’re spending a lot of our time working on auctions.”
Maresch said the business has also recently returned to bourse floors, beginning with Trajan’s National Postage Stamp and Coin Show this March.
“We’ve decided to come out to a few shows to help promote the business and ourselves as well as the whole stamp community,” said Maresch. “We feel it’s positive we’re out here, and it helps us meet with customers that we don’t get to meet very often because we’re sitting up there, working away. This is where we can come out to meet people.”
The most recent Maresch sale concluded in April. Another sale is slated to be held in beginning of September, before the business’ big move.
For more information, visit maresch.com.