Published: June 19th, 2015

When last we heard from Jim Estill, things were not going too well NuHorizons Electronics Corp., an upstate New York-based distributor of semiconductors and power systems. That was 2009.

Today, Estill told CDN that he is the new CEO of Danby, a Guelph, Ont.-based manufacturer of small electrical appliances.

“Yes, I’m in microwaves, compact refrigerators, ranges, washers, air conditioners, dehumidifiers and small appliances,” Estil said.

He added that he knows he can grow this company.

Currently, Danby reports more than $400 million in sales, which Estill acknowledges is small considering his history.

“It’s not tiny. I see it as a challenge. I like being an operator. It is small enough I can have an impact and large enough that the impact will be meaningful,” he said.

Estill’s 30-plus-year career in distribution is nothing short of a Canadian success story.

Jim Estill as CDN Newsmaker of the Year
Jim Estill as CDN Newsmaker of the Year

He was the president and CEO of Synnex Canada and the deal he made to sell EMJ Data Systems Ltd. to the Fremont, Calif.-based distributor captured the CDN Newsmaker of the Year title. He is the only distribution leader to reach No. 1 status.

During his career in distribution, Estill reached more than $1 billion in annual sales at Synnex Canada. He founded EMJ, which he grew to over $300 million in revenue before its sale to Synnex and brought popular products from Apple and Acer to the Canadian marketplace.

Danby Products was established in 1947 and is one of the top brands in the North American appliance marketplace. Danby operates three distinct business units – Danby, MicroFridge, and ColdTech Commercial.

Danby sells products that are marketed under seven retail names: Danby, Danby Designer, Danby Diplomat, Danby Premiere, Simplicity and Danby Silhouette, as well as private brands for major retail stores. MicroFridge sells a proprietary line of appliances, primarily combination refrigerators/freezers/microwave ovens, for small space living environments. ColdTech Commercial provides the food service industry with a full line of commercial refrigeration including reach-in, prep tables, undercounter refrigerators and freezers.