Sam Kotzer grew up in the toy business and in turn helped the industry to grow in new ways. He was 16 years old when he began working with his father and brother on wholesaling toys and not much older when he started importing toys from Japan. He became one of the country’s major suppliers of inexpensive toys, and helped make possible the annual 88-cent Sale Day at Simpson’s and Eaton’s a popular tradition in the 1950’s that launched the Christmas season. Mr. Kotzer’s insight into the needs of both retailers and manufacturers prompted him to create his own end-of-line supply company SAMKO SALES in 1961. His knack for marketing is legendary, born of his success in creating new markets for toys generally perceived as no longer saleable.
Toys are his business, but the welfare of children is his lifelong passion. Mr. Kotzer spends countless hours doing volunteer work and he is a generous sponsor of many children’s causes. He served as President of the Canadian National Exhibition from 1992–1995. Mr. Kotzer is credited with saving the much loved Santa Claus Parade in Toronto in the late 1980’s through his extraordinary fundraising efforts.