Call Number: Mss 153, Pc 160, El 2 (A.02-41)
Title: Albert D. Cohen fonds.
Extent: 0.38 m of textual records and other material.
Biographical sketch: Born in 1914 in Winnipeg,
Manitoba, Albert Diamond Cohen was the third of six sons of Alexander
and Bereka (Diamond) Cohen. As a boy, Cohen sold newspapers and
worked as a delivery boy. At the age of fifteen he became a shoe
salesman, quitting school after completing grade nine in order to
contribute to the family finances, which had been strained by the
Great Depression. Cohen then went into business with his father,
selling chocolate bars and pens throughout Manitoba and in Northwestern
Ontario. In 1934 the Cohen family moved to Calgary where, led by
Cohen, they eventually established General Distributors Company,
the forerunner of Gendis, Inc. In 1947, SAAN Stores Ltd. was established
in Winnipeg, and the chain eventually grew to include over 200 stores
across Canada. Cohen is currently the Chairman, President, and Chief
Executive Officer of Gendis Inc. Albert D. Cohen was the first recipient
of the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award, which was established in
1983 by the University of Manitoba, its Faculty of Management, and
the Associates of the Faculty of Management (an organization of
senior business leaders dedicated to establishing the University
of Manitoba as one of the top business schools in Canada). The award
recognized Cohen for his success as the co-founder of Gendis Inc.
Cohen was responsible for expanding the scope of the award into
the international business realm. From 1985-2000, Cohen served as
the chair of the nominating committee, responsible for soliciting
nominations for the award, and making arrangements for the annual
awards dinner. The International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award
(IDEA) is presented annually at a formal dinner in Winnipeg, where
the recipient receives a five ounce gold medallion produced by the
Royal Canadian Mint.
Custodial history: The fonds was donated to University
of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections in 2002 by Albert Cohen.
Scope and content: The Albert D. Cohen fonds
consists of 4 series: International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award
1983-2002, Books 1985, 2002, Photograph Collection (PC 160) 1987-2000,
and Electronic Records (EL 2), 1985-1990. The first series consists
of records relating to the University of Manitoba's Distinguished
Entrepreneur Award (IDEA). This includes materials relating to the
coordination of the award and the annual IDEA dinner. The Books
series contains two books written by Cohen. The Photograph Collection
comprises 118 photographs and 29 video-cassettes pertaining to the
IDEA dinner. 6 of the 29 IDEA dinner videos were digitized and placed
in EL 2.
Restrictions: This collection is open to all,
with the exception of Box 3, Folder 9, which is restricted. Use
is governed by relevant copyright legislation. Reproduction of materials
from this fonds requires permission from University of Manitoba
Archives & Special Collections.
Accruals: Further accruals to this fonds are expected.
Finding aid: A printed finding aid is available
in the Archives reading room and an electronic finding aid is available
at the link below:
153, PC 160, EL 2 (A.02-41).