HISTORY OF GROUPE ETHIER INC: A time travel
1918 : The passion of a founder
It all began with the work of Abondius Ethier in 1918. He decided to direct his farming work, towards the vegetables farming. Then, the compagny was born. He was a great visionary, a hard working men and a passionate producer. At this time, the first world war broked out and the country suffered from the rarity of food. Therefore, the demand for vegetables increased, and Abondius’ business prospered.
With the help of his nine children, the market extended towards Saint-Jérôme and Montréal. Ethier’s family started to pack neighbors producer’s crop. The products distributed are various, but, over the years, specialties take a great deal of their time; vegetables farming and packing of: potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, parsnips, turnips and cabbages, in many formats.
1954: The fab four take over the business
Four ingenious brothers, Zénon, Ernest, Jean-Paul and Donat, gather their land and their efforts to found Ethier et Frères. Ltée. Audacious and perseverents, they did not fear the economy at that time and invested into new technologies in the fields, new refrigerated warehouses and new equipements in the packing house. Sales are gradually expanded towards all over the province of Quebec, the Maritimes, Ontario and United-States.
Thanks to their leadership for packing and marketing fresh produce, the Ethier family developed an exceptional partnership with producers and suppliers, all over the province. They have 500 acres for their vegetables farming and an important fleet of trucks for pick-ups and deliveries.
Their warehouses at start of 2100 square feet, went up to 35,000 square feet with the third generation pf Ethier coming to work, in the 70’s. 75 employees worked there all year long. In fact, when local produce is no longer available, the company imports a great deal of produce from United-States, to pack at their facilities from march to july.
1981: Eight musketeers that worked all for one and one for all!
The Four brothers transfer the enterprise to eight of their own children, already implicated at different levels of the company. It is the third generation of Ethiers: Michel, Réal, Réjean, Pierre, Jocelin, Maurice and Ginette. What they have learnt with their parents? Work hard together and get the job well done.
It is with real camaderie and team work that our eight musketeers solidify the business. Visionary for vegetables packaging, they established an intelligent marketing of their product, innovated and modernised their equipment at the right place at the right time. A considerable development follows for the expertise of fresh vegetables distribution. It is 3,000,000 bags of 50 lb per year that is moved by Groupe Ethier. Eleven tractor-trailers are necessary to cover their activities.
2009: New team, new Challenges
Groupe Ethier is now four owners since 2009. Jocelin Ethier et Ginette Ethier from the precedent partnership, Pascal Ethier fils de Michel Ethier and Denis Bissonnette, long-time collaborator, who joined the team in 1996.
What they are proud of since their beginning?
- The increase of their vegetables farming. “We want to contribute to develop the agricultural activities in Quebec and respect the standards environmental.”
- To guarantee a fresh quality produce to the consumers. To have Adapted their partnership with their suppliers, employees, collaborators and adequately respond to the food-safety programs.
- Innovation is mostly important to get ahead in the business. That is why, the new team introduced a new packaging in 2014. They think this new bag will please the consumers. “ We want to incite Quebec families to cook with healthy foods at all times, with our product.”
Succession, a new generation
Groupe Ethier is also 4 children of the actuals owners. They are already at work and willing to take over the business in the future. Roxane, Sébastien, Joffrey and Samuel bring their talents at different levels of the company’s operations.
A transfer at a fourth generation? Why not would say Founder Abondius! His legendary positive philosophy of life, and his passion for farming, has survived over generations. His dream is still alive, after almost 100 years!