July 23rd, 2015
Groupe Eugenie: How Family Bonds Form Strong Businesses
Is there any industry in North America that’s more family oriented than fenestration?
Based on my brief time covering it, I’d say no.
We all know about the door and window dealerships that have three or four generations of one family on staff. They’re almost as ubiquitous as barbershops.
Many manufacturers in the industry have deep family connections, too. Think Marvin and its affiliated companies, which have been run by the Marvin family of Minnesota for decades.
Last week, I visited another outstanding family-run business – Groupe Eugenie of Quebec, Canada, a manufacturer and importer of machinery used to make doors and door jambs.
The company, which invited DWM to cover the grand opening of its new showroom near Montreal, has experienced strong growth since its birth just five years ago. One of its components, international distributor JRC Machinery, was founded by Richard Chauvette and his son, Jonathan. Its name is a combination of their initials. (Richard is the CEO of Groupe Eugenie, and Jonathan is the vice president of sales and marketing.)
Five other businesses are also under the Groupe Eugenie umbrella – EuGenie Canada, which manufactures machinery; Techno-Pro Expert, which handles maintenance for industrial machinery; Eugenie Technologie, which designs machinery; Libra Integration, which develops software; and L’Engrenage, which is the group’s non-profit charitable arm.
But the family connections run even deeper. In fact, the entire enterprise is named for Richard’s mother, Eugenie, whom I briefly met. The Groupe Eugenie website describes the company’s name as “a heartfelt tribute to a great lady who contributed with her support and confidence for the development of a thriving company.”
Amber Grayson, one of Groupe Eugenie’s U.S. sales representatives, has seen the company’s strong family dynamic pay off from its earliest days.
“It’s very impressive,” she said. “From the little office they started in, Richard and Jonathan, they’ve really grown a lot. They worked many, many hours.”
The company has developed several products that have won awards for innovation, and the family feeling is evident there, too. When a new machine is launched, it’s given the name of a woman who is special to someone in the company. For example, the Groupe Eugenie line includes products such as the Anny door jamb machine, the Kathy horizontal door machine, the Claire door edging machine, the Kim door cutting machine, and the Sandy vertical door machine.
Whatever the name, they’re putting out quality products and delivering great service, says Grayson.
“They’re an automation company, and they’ve got the mechanical end figured out as well,” she said. “There were only a few companies that did this type of work in the U.S. and even abroad. When you find an automation company that can do the mechanical very, very well, the customer wins every time.”