Victoriaville Funeral Supplies Inc.
Number of employees: 425
Markets: Canada, the U.S. and eight other countries
Manufacturer and distributor of funeral products, mostly caskets
President: Alain Dumont
Victoriaville buries the competition
They say that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. If that’s true, then Victoriaville Funeral Supplies may be in one of the more recession-proof industries. “It’s a hard sector to talk about,” admits Alain Dumont, the company’s president. “But it is true that the projected death rate, (which was recently revised downwards) is a key indicator of future demand for our products.”
Victoriaville Funeral Supplies, which bills itself as Canada’s largest domestic manufacturer and distributor of funeral products, was founded in its current form by Alain Dumont’s father’s uncle.
Alain Dumont, who is from the third generation of family members to run Victoriaville Funeral Supplies, joined the company after working first for several years as a chartered accountant, an experience that he said proved invaluable. “Joining a family business is a daunting task,” said Dumont. “There is so much pressure on you to perform. Bringing outside experience to the job does a lot to broaden your perspective.”
Ironically according to Dumont, much of Victoriaville Funeral Supplies’ recent success, which includes 18 straight years of sales growth, stemmed from a tragedy. Just over a decade ago, a fire levelled the company’s production facilities. The Dumont family used the opportunity to completely rebuild its plant, investing a massive $25 million in the project. Since then, Dumont has continued to upgrade production facilities when needed. For example during 2006, the company invested a further $5 million to relocate and modernize its paint system and to add two new assembly lines.
That said, the story isn’t over yet. Dumont has three kids of his own who could potentially bring the family business into its fourth generation. However, like their father before them, all want to try something else first.
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