le Jeudi 30 mars 2023
le Mardi 26 juillet 2022 12:03 Économie

A Newcomer In Hawkesbury’s Industrial Park

Tessier St., Hawkesbury : Unless this is where your workplace is located, that you are lost or if you are taking a ‘all-inclusive grand tour’ of the town, you have probably never set foot or wheels on this street at the core of the town’s industrial park. Civic address 1187: a 50 year-old+ building formerly occupied by Ridge Nassau, a manufacturing company of metal hardware and now leased by Structures Héritage, a division of Modulaires Héritage, specializing in manufacturing prefabricated wall structures for the building construction industry.

Following an extensive search to locate their projected business, Audrey Simard and Sylvain St-Maurice met with the Hawkesbury Industrial Investment Association and were proposed this one; both were ready to roll: signed the lease in December 2021, took possession of the 20,000 square feet building in February 2022 and in March, after a frantic month of thorough cleanup and setting up for their manufacturing purposes, they were open for business with a local crew of 25+ employees. Although neither had any extensive experience in the construction domain, Sylvain had a 25-year experience in the manufacturing industry, both as owner and manager, doubled by Audrey’s formation in business administration and experience as economic agent for the city of Mirabel; also life partners, they dreamt of owning their own business, they did their prospecting, their homework and preparation, and jumped at the opportunity to do so when made available.

Both had gained valuable related experience working for a modular home company for a while, but their offer to purchase was rejected, thus leading to planning their own start-up. Their modular wall manufacturing business is only a first step, dipping their toes into a business which they already plan to expand into producing a full range of modular homes from A to Z; their Hawkesbury plant may also eventually, possibly as soon as this fall, include roof and floor trusses production.

Audrey is a very passionate person and, when interviewed, could not stop with ‘bragging’ with pride about their venture, how fast things have fallen in place and how well it is growing. ‘We chose to partner with a family enterprise, Nepveu Home Hardware,  for supplies and for our projected production of roof/floor trusses: this partnership will assure us a certain stability in the cost of lumber, which has been fluctuating like a yoyo for a few years, and also in the reliability of our supply. It is proven that using prefabricated components saves approximately 75% time consumption on the building site and, considering shortages in the labor force, it becomes a great option for builders and contractors; it is not necessarily cheaper considering total cost (material + labor + shipping), but time is of the essence. Our main business targets at this point are multi-units apartments; our first contracts came in shortly after opening our doors: six 10-unit buildings at Mont-Tremblant; we were ecstatic! We have our own installation crews on site to oversee that everything is conform to specs, but we eventually plan to subcontract these responsibilities to outside experienced crews. No immediate projects are planned for Hawkesbury or in Prescott-Russell yet, but we are looking forward to the opportunity to put our signature on a local development!’

When visiting the plant, it became obvious that Sylvain’s experience in a manufacturing setting had paid off: everything was set for maximum production, work stations well defined and easy to access for employees. When asked if the hiring of experienced staff was problematic, Audrey commented ‘We weren’t looking out specifically for people with experience in construction, but for people that had an open mind and ready to learn, people with a positive attitude who were able to interact socially in a manufacturing environment; Sylvain and I supplied formation to their specific tasks and we are very pleased with the results. We are happy with their performance and in return, I think they are happy to be here and that their job at Structures Héritage brings them pride and satisfaction’.

It is always very gratifying to have the opportunity to write about success stories, about passionate people that dare take risks in pursuit of personal and/or professional dreams. This meeting with Audrey and Sylvain was such a moment. All our best to you, your staff and your enterprise!