Stephen Bebis has risen through the ranks of retail management since he first entered the field in 1972. From 1974 to1983 he held progressively more senior roles with Sears and Roebuck and Grossman’s Lumber. However, his career trajectory changed significantly when he joined Home Depot when they had only 14 stores in 1984. He held a variety of senior merchandising roles before being named the VP General Merchandise Manager for the Mid-South Division which had reached over $6 billion by the time he left in 1990. An opportunity north of the border was just too attractive and he became founder, President, and CEO of Aikenhead’s Improvement Warehouse based in Toronto. He built that company from an idea to over $1 billion in sales in just 3 years before he and his fellow investors sold 75% of the company to Home Depot in 1994. He was also a founder of Reno Depot, a home improvement warehouse retailer in Quebec, and served on the parent company board of Group Van Royal. After the acquisition, he served as President and CEO of Home Depot Canada and chairman of the Aikenhead/Home Depot Partnership Board from 1994 to 1996. He left in 1996 to become President and CEO of Sports and Recreation in Tampa, FL, a big box sports retailer with over $1 billion in sales.
In 1998, the entrepreneurial bug bit again and Mr. Bebis founded Golf Town a company he ran as President and CEO until Dec 2011. From a concept in 1999, he helped to drive a run date of over $365 million per year across 65 stores across Canada. In November 2004 Mr. Bebis took the company public in the form of an income trust trading on the TSX under the symbol GLF.UN and sold the company to OMERS in 2007, who took it private.
After Golf Town Bebis took over the President and CEO role of Brookstone, located in Nashua, NH. He served as CEO until May 2013 when he left to take the President and CEO role of Liquor Stores N.A (LIQ: TSX) based in Edmonton, Alberta, and Louisville, KY. LSNA is a publicly-traded company with 252 liquor and wine stores in Alberta, British Columbia, Alaska, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Revenue in 2016 exceeded $800M CDN.
In 2017 Mr. Bebis left LSNA and joined the boutique executive search firm Bigwin Group with offices in Toronto and Boston. His expertise as a former CEO has helped his clients find the best candidates possible as he adds a much different context to the interview process.
Throughout his career, Mr. Bebis has served on many charitable boards in Canada and the USA, including the Moffit Cancer Centre in Tampa, FL which is an NCI-designated cancer center hospital and research facility. He was also a Director at the University of Tampa and a Director at Outward Bound Canada. And, Mr. Bebis served as the Chairman of Prostate Cancer Canada from 2004 to 2007 and received the Ferguson Award for his years of dedication, during which he raised over $1.5 million.
In 2005 Mr. Bebis won the E&Y Entrepreneur of Year award and was elected to the Retail Hall of Fame in Canada in 2007.