Not only has Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton had the privilege of growing alongside the Beauce business community for the past 50 years but it is also proud to have supported some of its most loyal clients for almost as long. This is the case for two of the firm’s clients, Manac Inc. and Les Industries Bernard & Fils Ltée—businesses recognized in Beauce, in Quebec and even internationally—that are also celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.
These companies have faced many challenges over the years which they were able to transform into success stories thanks to key players and an ability to adapt to an ever-changing market. Let’s take a look back over this half-century with Charles Dutil, President and CEO of Manac Inc., and Martin Bernard, Sales Director at Les Industries Bernard & Fils Ltée.
Celebrations based on recognizing clients, employees and ambassadors
Les Industries Bernard & Fils Ltée—which has known constant growth for several years—marked its 50 years by doubling the surface area of its Saint-Victor production facility. It will cover 100,000 square feet by the end of fall. A family-owned maple syrup production company, Les Industries Bernard & Fils Ltée has been operating now for over five generations. Martin Bernard explains, “We take it to heart. […] Our name is written on the maple syrup bottles that leave our facilities. It’s our pride.”
At Manac Inc., a trailer and semi-trailer designer and manufacturer, the celebrations are mainly focused on employees who, according to Charles Dutil, are an undeniable factor in the success of this family-based company, “Fifty years later, it’s clear that the quality of our staff, their quick reaction time, decision-making ability, attention to clients and team loyalty are factors that make it possible for a company in our industry to weather economic cycles.” The organization even commissioned a semi-trailer in honour of its 50th anniversary on which the names of its 1,200 employees are written. He explains, “Nobody’s name is bigger than anyone else’s; this reflects the importance of each individual.”
As for Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s celebrations, Rémi Fortin, Managing Partner of the Beauce office, indicates that “Several activities are planned throughout the year to thank not only our clients for their loyalty but also those who have helped develop the firm in the Beauce region, whom we proudly refer to as our ‘ambassadors’.”
Both of these entities have faced challenges over the past five decades; the whims of nature and strong growth for Les Industries Bernard & Fils Ltée, recessions and economic cycles for Manac Inc., but despite everything, they have both succeeded in staking out a prime position in their respective industries, here and abroad. This is how Manac Inc. now owns four factories in Canada and the U.S., and how Les Industries Bernard & Fils Ltée’s has managed to get its maple products distributed in some of the biggest retail chains in over 41 countries over the last five years.
A Relationship of Trust
To be able to reach 50 years in business and overcome challenges along the way, companies must equip themselves with competent and trustworthy business consultants. This is the role that Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton has played numerous times with Manac Inc. and Les Industries Bernard & Fils Ltée. Charles Dutil, whose company has maintained a relationship with the firm for over 25 years, elaborates, “If we look at Manac over the past 11 years, we had about five transactions that affected our shareholder structure. The Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton team was there for us each time.” He adds that, without a doubt, one of major players in this strong relationship of trust is Raymond Poulin, Partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s Saint-Georges office. Raymond asserts that he’s “happy his team, including Mélanie Boyer, Antoine Morin and many other specialists, have had the chance to work with a client like Manac Inc.” He touches on the importance of the vast network the firm can tap into to support growing businesses. In particular, Charles Dutil values the service quality and speed, and Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s reasonable fees. He believes that the firm’s position is well-deserved. He states, “After this many years and the nature of services, it’s definitely more than your standard client-supplier relationship.”
The quality of the relationship is also an important aspect for Les Industries Bernard & Fils Ltée. Martin Bernard states, “We’ve always had a very strong, transparent and open relationship.” The expertise of the Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton team was notably of value in projects related to succession and financing. The activities of the maple sugar industry take place within a very short period, and Martin Bernard remembers a time when the company needed an important cash injection during these months. He elaborates, “It takes a good financial plan to obtain financing from the banks. We had a lot of help from Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton and it was much appreciated.” Rémi Fortin, the Partner in charge of the company’s assignments, judges that the strength of the relationship between Les Industries Bernard & Fils Ltée and the accounting firm is based on the mutual respect and openness between both parties. Rémi adds, “We’ve been supporting the company in their endeavours for over 22 years and we’re proud to have witnessed first-hand the impressive growth of this family business.”
Vision of the Future
What are these companies hoping for next? For Manac Inc., as Charles Dutil states, “it’s to one day celebrate our 100 year anniversary.” For Les Industries Bernard & Fils Ltée, the important thing is for “things to continue going well. Right now, maple syrup is a trend. We hope that we’ll always have the supply to meet the demand,” explains Martin Bernard. As for Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, the firm plans to continue to carry out its guiding mission—to help dynamic companies achieve their full growth potential for the next 50 years and beyond.