In Retail Business category
MONCTON, NB – Nov. 15, 2015 – HMS Office Supplies of Summerside had lots to celebrate Saturday night since the local retailer was named the winner of RDÉE Canada’s national 2014 Lauriers de la PME Award, Retail Business category.
What made the event even more special was that the Summerside business, which belongs to Henri and Gloria Gallant, is the first-ever company from PEI to win a regular Lauriers award. (The tourism business The Bottle Houses of Cape Egmont had won a special “Coup de coeur” award in 2005.)
Gallant was greatly surprised when he was informed a few weeks ago that he and his wife were to win the award. In fact, he had to be told twice before it actually clicked in. He says he was immediately covered in goose-bumps and the first words out of his mouth were simply “Oh… my… God!!!” He in fact said it several times.
But as he was bubbling over with excitement, he was told that he had to keep the news a secret until it was officially announced Nov. 15. “I wanted to tell everyone but I wasn’t allowed to; I was ready to explode,” he says with a smile. “I however gave myself permission to share the great news with our staff since they helped us so much to survive and therefore to win this award.”
It was during the Business of the Year Banquet, held annually by the Conseil de développement économique du Nouveau-Brunswick, Saturday, Nov. 15, in Moncton, that RDÉE Canada presented its national Lauriers de la PME Awards, which were established to help focus the spotlight on Francophone entrepreneurial excellence throughout Canada.
Twenty-nine businesses, from one end of the country to the other, had been retained as finalists in five categories.
First of all, in its Retail Business category, HMS Office Supplies was up against four other businesses: By Nature Import Inc. (British Columbia), Cherlock & Safe (Saskatchewan), Monique Lavoie Pharmacy Ltd. (Alberta) and Sandbanks Estate Winery Inc. (Ontario).
Ontario’s Distillerie Rheault won the Micro-Business Award as it competed with five other finalists, including Ron’s Construction of Urbainville, PEI. The Young Entrepreneurs’ Award was presented to Bold Innovation Group Ltd. of Manitoba; also competing in this category was OMD Construction & Consulting Ltd. of Maximeville, PEI.
Over the Hill Orchards from Saskatchewan won the Manufacturing / Processing Award; PEI had no finalist in this category.
The judges also presented a special “Coup de cœur” award to the Artisan Inn of Newfoundland-Labrador.
HMS OFFICE SUPPLIES BACKGROUND
After 10 years of experience in furniture sales, Henri Gallant joined up with Paul Arsenault to establish HMS Office Supplies in Summerside in 1982. The business continued increasing its retail floor space and evolving its services and products, as the market demanded. In 1999, Arsenault sold his shares to Gallant and his wife Gloria.
During the first two decades, business was general quite good. Seven other office supply stores came and went since none could provide the level of service and quality offered by HMS.
Then, at the start of the new millennium, a multinational chain specializing in office supplies set up shop in Summerside. Sales at HMS dropped drastically. The owners spent many a sleepless night wondering if they should shut down their store. After many prayers and discussions with staff, they decided to do whatever what was needed to stay open.
Thanks to lots of effort and plenty of conviction to maintaining high standards of customer service, Henri, Gloria and their staff were able to convince most of their former clients to return to HMS. As well, the owners decided to further adapt their store to market tendencies and to continue evolving. Their son Pierre really got to work selling office furniture by contract to various major governmental and public institutions (including hospitals, schools and nursing homes) and with major private corporations. HMS had finally found its niche.
Overall, it was essentially tenacity and ingenuity by both the owners and the staff that ensured that HMS continues to survive and thrive today.
CUTLINE 1: Linda Garand from Industry Canada presents the national 2014 Lauriers de la PME Award for Retail Business to Henri and Gloria Gallant, owners of HMS Office Supplies of Summerside, PEI.
CUTLINE 2: Denis Laframboise, left, president of RDÉE Canada, will all the 2014 winners of the Lauriers de la PME Awards.
CUTLINE 3: Henri and Gloria Gallant proudly show their 2014 Lauriers de la PME Award for Retail Businesses.
For more information:
Office: 613 244-7308, Ext. 205
Cell: 613 804-1531
Raymond J. Arsenault
RDÉE Prince Edward Island
(902) 854-3439, Ext. 231