Construction, office supplies and fish processing in the spotlight
The winners of the 2014 provincial Lauriers de la PME Awards for small and medium-sized businesses, who were honored during the 2014 Entrepreneurs’ Gala in Summerside March 14 are, from left, Henri and Gloria Gallant, owners of HMS Office Supplies (Retail Business); Ronald Arsenault, owner of Ron’s Construction (Micro-Business); Louise Richard, administrative assistant from the Acadian Fishermen’s Co-op (Manufacturing/Processing Business); Justin Arsenault, employee with OMD Construction & Consulting (Young Entrepreneurs); and Jean Allain, manager of the PEI branch of Atlantic Roofers Ltd. (Service Business).
SUMMERSIDE, PEI – March 15, 2014 – Three construction-type businesses, an office supplies retailer and a fish-processing plant have just won the provincial 2014 Lauriers de la PME Awards for PEI.
These prestigious awards, honoring small and medium-sized businesses and co-ops, were presented March 15 in Summerside during the 2014 Entrepreneurs’ Gala, hosted jointly by RDÉE Prince Edward Island (the provincial francophone economic development council) and the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI.
The winners were:
• 2014 Processing/Manufacturing Business: Acadian Fishermen’s Co-operative Association Ltd., Abram-Village;
• 2014 Service Business: Atlantic Roofers Ltd. (Jean Allain), Winsloe;
• 2014 Retail Business: HMS Office Supplies Ltd. (Henri and Gloria Gallant), Summerside;
• 2014 Micro-Business: Ron’s Construction (Ronald Arsenault), Urbainville;
• 2014 Young Entrepreneur: OMD Construction & Consulting Ltd. (Jamie Caissie), Maximeville.
« Our winners represent the excellence of our Acadian, francophone and bilingual businesses and co-ops on PEI, » said RDÉE president Martin Marcoux. « They offer top-ranking services and products, either locally, provincially, nationally or even internationally. Our provincial selection committee was extremely impressed by the quality of their submissions as well as by their accomplishments and economic performance. In fact, the submissions for all 12 of our finalists were quite enviable, which did not make the committee’s job easy at all. »
The president congratulated the winners and the finalists and encouraged them to continue their great work « since you are fantastic inspirations for PEI’s current and future entrepreneurs. »
Over the next few months, nomination packages will be prepared for each of the five provincial winners so that they can be submitted to the national Lauriers de la PME Awards contest, hosted by RDÉE Canada. A national jury will review the list of candidates from provinces and territories throughout Canada; following a pre-selection, it will invite four finalists from each category to attend the national gala, to take place in Moncton, N.B., Nov. 22.
« We are confident that that our five provincial finalists have what it takes to make it to the nationals, » said the president. « It is quite an honour to be able to measure our businesses against the best in all of Canada. »
Sponsors of the provincial Gala include the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the PEI Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development, Radio-Canada Acadie, CBDC Central PEI, Évangéline-Central PEI, ProxMax 2000, The Co-operators (Mike Bradley Insurance Services), the French Chamber of Commerce of Canada, Atlantic Network, and the Royal Bank of Canada.
For more information:
Raymond J. Arsenault
Coordinator, 2014 Entrepreneurs’ Gala
(902) 854-3439, Ext. 231
BACKGROUNDER – WINNERS’ BIOGRAPHIES
a) 2014 Processing/Manufacturing Business: Acadian Fishermen’s Co-operative Association Ltd.
The Acadian Fishermen’s Co-operative Association Ltd. was founded in 1955 to process lobster in « the old factory » on the Abram-Village wharf. In 1970, the current plant was constructed. It was expanded and modernized with new production lines several times over the years. Today, it is recognized as one of the most modern fish-processing plants in Canada. In fact, it is one of the very few Atlantic Canadian plants to have international exporting certification from the British Retail Consortium. Over the past eight years, the Co-op made the « 101 Top Businesses in Atlantic Canada » list in the Progress magazine five times.
Lobster remains the co-op’s main product. It is canned, packed, frozen and sold live in a variety of packages and sizes. The co-op also produces lobster paste and crab salad. In all, it can prepare more than 100 different products, all sold under the Acadian Supreme brand. It buys lobster from about 80 fisher-members from seven wharves to process and sell all over the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Its annual sales usually run $20-$21 million. The co-op employs 180-190 seasonal workers and seven full-time employees. Most of the workers are from PEI or Atlantic Canada. In 2013, it hired 27 immigrants from the Philippines; this year, it expects to hire about 50.
(Other finalist in this category: the food-processing business Out of Africa, owned by Makena Tarichia and Jean Ambassa from Mermaid.)
CUTLINE: Louise Richard, administrative assistant with the Acadian Fishermen’s Co-op, accepts the 2014 PEI Lauriers de la PME Award, Manufacturing/Processing Category, from Sonny Gallant, left, MLA for Evangeline Miscouche, and Martin Marcoux, president of RDÉE PEI. This award was sponsored by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
b) 2014 Service Business: Atlantic Roofers Ltd.
Born in Grande-Digue, NB, Jean Allain began his career as an apprentice with Atlantic Roofers Ltd., the company that had been established in 1972 by his uncle Arthur Allain. The company eventually established branches in St. John’s, Halifax, Fredericton and Saint John. Jean came to PEI in 1986 to set up a sixth branch in Winsloe. In 1992, he permanently settled here. Five years later, he became branch manager. The beginnings of the branch were quite slim; the outfit had but a handful of employees. Today, as the branch celebrates its 28th anniversary, it has 15 employees (including six who speak French) as well as a large building that houses the company’s PEI office, a house and an apartment for employees.
Over the years, the company got roofing contracts for several major governmental and commercial buildings, including Credit Union Place in Summerside, the Jean Canfield Building in Charlottetown, the Humberg Hotel in Charlottetown, the Centre Belle-Alliance in Summerside, the new Target store in Charlottetown and several schools.
Atlantic Roofers also provides an emergency roof-repairing service, usually after problems such as leaks or snow accumulations. Among its regular clients are: the provincial government’s Shaw, Jones and Sullivan buildings, Cavendish Farms’ plants and federal offices such as the Daniel J. MacDonald Building. The company also does general roof maintenance.
As the founder of the business prepares to retire, Jean Allan and another one of the branch managers are negotiating to buy the company from him.
(Other finalists in this category: La Coopérative de développement culturel et patrimonial de Mont-Carmel and La Coopérative du Village des Sources l’Étoile Filante from Cape-Egmont.)
CUTLINE: Jean Allain, centre, manager of the PEI branch of Atlantic Roofers Ltd., accepts the 2014 PEI Lauriers de la PME Award, Service Business category, from Evangeline-Miscouche MLA Sonny Gallant, left, and RDÉE PEI president Martin Marcoux. This award was sponsored by the Province of PEI and its Rural Action Centres.
c) 2014 Retail Business: HMS Office Supplies Ltd.
Henri Gallant and Paul Arsenault established HMS Office Supplies Ltd. in Summerside in 1982. In 1999, Arsenault sold his shares to Henri and his wife Gloria Gallant. For several years, the company’s sales of office supplies kept multiplying. The duo expanded its store to its current size: 5,000 square feet of retail space and 3,000 square feet for storage. Their son Pierre joined the team to lead the newly-formed office furniture and equipment division.
Then, several years back, a national office supply chain opened one of its huge stores down the street in Summerside. The giant retailer provided an absolutely ferocious competition to HMS. Many of the Gallants’ customers left to check out the bigger store. Henri and Gloria seriously considered closing up shop. However, they made up their minds that they were not going to give up the fight, even though they eventually had to reduce their staff from 12 to 7. They concluded that they would not be able to compete price-wise and selection-wise but that they could continue focussing on customer service. With tonnes of effort, they managed to recuperate most of their former clients.
They also began to concentrate more on the sale and installation of institutional furniture. They started getting contracts to furnish hospitals, manors and schools as well as private businesses and national institutions. This past January, they signed their biggest contract ever with the province to supply furniture for a number of buildings.
(Other finalist in this category: Acadian Fishermen’s Co-operative Association Ltd. in Abram-Village.)
CUTLINE: Radio-Canada Acadie, represented from the left by Marc Violette and Denis Duchesne, presented the 2014 PEI Lauriers de la PME Award, Retail Business category, to Henri and Gloria Gallant of HMS Office Supplies. Martin Marcoux, president of RDÉE PEI, helped with the presentation.
d) 2014 Micro-Business: Ron’s Construction
Before establishing Ron’s Construction in 1996, Ronald Arsenault of Urbainville had worked in the construction industry for about 18 years, 15 of those with Maddix Construction. His business specializes in residential construction and renovation. In addition, several years ago, Ronald got to supervise the construction of the seniors’ housing complexes of La Coopérative d’hébergement Le Bel Âge in Wellington.
Ronald is one of PEI’s most sought-after francophone contractors. He continually provides work for other francophone entrepreneurs from his area by subcontracting them to complete specialized services on his jobs: electricians, plumbers, painters, dry wallers and flooring specialists. He knows how to surround himself with workers who also pay lots of attention to fine details.
In addition to being dedicated to his work, Ronald is often consulted for community construction projects. For example, he was on the committee that reviewed the feasibility of restoring the St-Philippe and St-Jacques Church in Egmont Bay. He also volunteers each year with organizations and events such as the Acadian Festival.
Ron’s Construction is a family-operated micro-business. Ron is its sole owner. His son Daniel works with him full time and other employees are hired as needed. His wife Juliette does his accounting. Ron’s clients find that he offers a reliable and professional service of extremely high quality; he remains attentive to their needs and does everything he can to satisfy them.
(Other finalists in this category: Gracovir International Import-Export, owned by Jean Ambassa of Mermaid, and Promotions and Events International – 101032 PEI Inc., owned by Daniel Manibal from Nine Mile Creek.)
CUTLINE: Ronald Arsenault, centre, owner of Ron’s Construction, received the 2014 PEI Lauriers de la PME Award, Micro-Business category, from Alfred Arsenault, left, general manager of Évangéline-Central Credit Union, which sponsored the gala again this year. RDÉE PEI president Martin Marcoux helped with the presentation.
e) 2014 Young Entrepreneur: OMD Construction & Consulting Ltd.
After getting his carpentry diploma from Holland College in 2002, Jamie Caissie of Maximeville worked as an apprentice with Wellington Construction and in various locations in Western Canada until he received his Red Seal. He then returned to college where he obtained his construction technician diploma in May 2012. Jamie established his own business, named OMD Construction & Consulting Ltd., on March 20, 2012.
OMD offers various services ranging from development of construction plans to project management to construction. It provides work for five to 10 employees, all bilingual and from the Evangeline region. The number of employees varies according to the volume of work.
So far, OMD has received several major institutional contracts, including the construction of two expansions at École-Sur-Mer school in Summerside and the renovation of the federal Jean Canfield Building in Charlottetown. In his first year of business, it also built a house.
Jamie, now 30 years old, hopes to continue to expand his services, which are now offered province-wide. In fact, he continues to submit bids for projects in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. OMD is a family business. His mother takes care of the company’s accounting while his brother and father work as labourers.
(Other finalist in this category: T. Robichaud Consulting, owned by Tina Robichaud of Summerside.)
CUTLINE: Tania Bernard, representing sponsor CBDC Central PEI, presents the trophy from the 2014 PEI Lauriers de la PME Award, Young Entrepreneurs category, to OMD Construction & Consulting, represented by employee Justin Arsenault. The president of the RDÉE, Martin Marcoux, helped with the presentation.