Orchestrating Global Success

June 27, 2017

MMS Outperforms on World Stage

Halifax residents of a certain age are sure to remember MusicStop, with its iconic flagship store on Cunard Street. The franchise, founded by Russ Brannon, dominated the Atlantic Canadian music market until its sale to Long and McQuade. However, many may not be familiar with how MusicStop’s homegrown software program evolved into a separate business that emerged as its own global success story. Today, Master Merchant Systems (MMS) provides “Best in Breed” enterprise retail software solutions that can be found all over the world.

The story begins in the mid 1980’s. Russ was searching for point of sale (POS) software to run his retail stores properly, but wasn’t having much luck. He needed a comprehensive solution that could track sales of guitar strings, grand pianos and rentals, as well as help with financing and managing staff commissions. “He couldn’t find one, so he decided to create one,” recounts MMS President & CEO, Adam Baggs. 

While on a vacation down south, the software concept was sketched to life in a Hilroy scribbler.  Next came the hiring of a few local university grads to code the dream into fruition. As word of the POS spread to other local business owners, it became obvious that the solution was a business opportunity itself. MMS was born. 

The first MMS customers were Pharmasave stores, music stores and general retailers. It didn’t take long for MMS to make an impression around Atlantic Canada.

The first strategic shift came in the early 1990’s when a local cellular dealer needed a system to manage its independent cell phone business. “Russ realized he could offer his own retail system as a software service,” explains Adam. As a result, MMS started using the internet for cloud applications before “the cloud” existed. That opportunity provided the launching pad for MMS to establish itself as the pre-eminent provider in dealer and third-party sales for the cellular industry. 


In recent years, the telecommunications sector started to experience a consolidation trend. “We decided to make a strategic shift,” says Adam. “We chose to stay in the industry and focus on large, single-payer relationships.” These large companies recognize MMS’s value, its complex deployments, and its key strengths of integration where up to 30 different systems must align to make the service perform in the manner the customer needs.

After three decades, MMS has grown into a global player in the enterprise world. MMS software is used in over 40 countries and is considered a premier Retail Management System for the telecommunications industry. In fact, in certain countries you can’t buy a mobile phone without using MMS software. 

As much as things have changed, they have also stayed the same; despite a change in leadership, MMS has remained a family business. Russ maintains his ties to the company as MMS’s Chairperson, and his son Matt is the Chief Business Development Officer.

MMS has also maintained relationships with its early customers. Now a corporate client, Pharmasave uses MMS software across its entire banner in Atlantic Canada.

Today, MMS employs 80 people in its Dartmouth-based headquarters, and has international footholds in South Africa, the U.K. and Dubai.

    MMS

What’s next for MMS? Aggressive growth is only one of many plans. “We are rebuilding our product suite using the most innovative technologies and consolidating it into in a single, seamless interface,” shares Adam. “We will be leading the next generation of retail software.” He also hints that a new marketing strategy and rebranding is just around the corner. “It’s a really exciting time, so stay tuned.”

MMS is one of 265 companies the Partnership’s SmartBusiness team met with last year. To learn more about SmartBusiness and how it can help your company, click here.

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