Manufacturer of office furniture
Primary market: Canada, United States
Number of employees: 430
President: Daniel Pelletier
The rising loonie, which was trading near parity at yearend, has been giving exporters, like Granby Quebec-based furniture manufacturer Artopex, a pretty rough ride. “Our stronger currency makes Canadian products more expensive in the United States,” explains Daniel Pelletier, the company’s president. “That and the recession south of the border, has made it all that much harder for companies like ours to sell there.”
Artopex has long made a wide range of high quality wood furniture, acoustic panels, chairs, filing cabinets and other office products, at its four factories. Increased competition however gave it additional incentive to introduce new products, to meet changing demands.
“People now have the same expectations when they buy office furniture as when they buy bread,” says Pelletier, tongue in cheek. “Everybody wants their own special items with their own preferences built in. As a result, we are increasingly tailoring production to meet differing tastes in various regions and markets.” Like many Canadian manufacturers, Artopex has also invested heavily into productivity-enhancing equipment, such as new technology on its finishing lines, which in turn helps to keep its prices down.
The environment too, is a big concern. For example Artopex recently began to move from solvent- to water-based finishes. This both makes their finished goods more resistant, and at the same time makes it easier for the company to meet green accreditation standards given by groups such as Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association. “Customers are increasingly asking for green products,” says Pelletier. “We are more than happy to give them what they want.”
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