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Stumping for Shelf Space
had been sold, mostly in Montreal.

By 2005, Guru was being sold throughout Canada, and the company was looking to sell in the United States. New York City was selected because it was the largest market, it was fairly similar to Montreal in terms of its many independent retailers, and Mr. Graveline was living there and preparing to retire from Wall Street.

“If it doesn’t make it there, we would rather know up front rather than later,” Mr. Jolicoeur said. “But if it does make it there, we would feel like we can make it in other cities, not just in America but elsewhere.” He said it was important for the company to prove to itself “that the Guru concept has legs.”

Guru set up an office in the foyer of a two-bedroom apartment on Wall Street that doubles as Mr. Jolicoeur’s residence and a crash pad for the other partners when they visit from Montreal. Mr. Jolicoeur shares the apartment with a cat named Chloe.

“It’s the good-luck cat,” he

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