Category: News

Les Artisans du paysage : new administration

After 45 years of existence, the Quebec company Les Artisans du paysage was acquired by Julie Fournier and Félix Bouchard during the pandemic. The CEO and the financial controller recount the journey since then and the support provided by Groupex.

Julie Fournier
Félix Bouchard

Two complementary paths

From horticulturist to CEO, through director of landscaping service, Julie Fournier has held many positions since her arrival at Les Artisans du paysage, 27 years ago. Before taking over the company, she indeed learned to know it from all angles, both in the offices and on the sites.

“In 2013, I became a shareholder with Jack Lavoie and Annie Racine, the two founders, then in 2019, I became CEO. It was in 2021 that Félix and I ended up acquiring the company,”

Julie Fournier

Trained in accounting, her partner Félix Bouchard was however a newcomer to the landscaping field: “It has always been my dream to acquire a company, and when the opportunity to get my hands on that of Jack Lavoie, which was so well established, presented itself, I seized it!”

He thus came to lend a hand to Julie on the administrative and financial side, and together, they concocted plans to continue the growth of the Artisans, without modifying its DNA: “For two years, we have expanded and our design, landscaping, maintenance and thematic decor services have improved, preserving the same reputation,” proudly asserts the co-owner, whose company now reaches nearly 120 employees during the high season.

“When Félix and I bought during COVID, there were a lot of cost increases and distribution problems for materials. Even though our company has been established for a very long time, we felt a bit alone to go through these big changes. We analyzed the situation and decided to join the coop to gain support forces.”

Julie Fournier, CEO, Les Artisans du paysage

Old New Coop Recruits

Joining Groupex was one of the tools that Julie and Félix used when they arrived at the head of the Artisans. “We are happy to have done it, but I think we were not the easiest to convince!” says Félix, laughing.

“We quickly realized that Groupex has gained a lot of volume and strength over the past few years. We decided to try it, to improve the cost of resources and distribution… for the strength of numbers. Because in the end, we are a beautiful family and there is a whole sharing of information that is done.”

Félix Bouchard

The two managers remember certain situations, which occurred over the past few years, where the collaboration of Groupex was precious, notably to negotiate the necessary agreements for the purchase of new types of products, to coordinate deliveries of more diversified plants in Quebec and to be warned of unexpected price increases.

“We are never safe from sudden fluctuations in the prices of certain materials, which is particularly problematic for projects sold a year in advance. In these moments, grouping together becomes really essential,” recalls Julie, who is also a director at APPQ. “It is in these situations that collective mutual aid becomes precious.”

Since their entry into Groupex, Les Artisans have had the opportunity to participate in the congress and the Landscapers Open Doors, two very popular events to make fertile meetings and discover the vision of other entrepreneurs. Julie and Félix plan to continue discovering the benefits of being members, particularly to support their adoption of sustainable practices.

“For some time now, we have been gradually replacing our equipment to use electric devices. We also offer a pesticide-free maintenance program, but there is still work to be done to change mentalities,” says Julie. “We have to convince customers that we have to work with nature and not against it!””.

Pépinière du Parc : Sharing Excellence

« The biggest advantages of grouping together? Mutual aid and sharing, but also savings and continuous training. »

Robin Lapointe, co-owner, Pépinière du Parc

Founded by Renée Soucy and Robert Lapointe in 1987, the company from Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc, in Mauricie, has been part of the Groupex network since 2013. It is a production nursery that, over the years, has greatly diversified to become a garden center, then offer maintenance and landscaping services, as well as a complete agrotourism experience (woodsman’s maze, café-terrace, chalets, etc.).

Robin Lapointe, co-owner and son of the founding couple, explains that the many advantages of being part of the cooperative were not necessarily all known from the start: ‘If it was the purchasing power that attracted us at first, I think it’s the sharing that made us stay. And I love the congresses, conferences, and training: it’s close to my heart!’ says the former high school teacher, who has contributed to the growth of Nursery of the Park since 2015.

Whether it’s to acquire new skills or nourish his approach as a manager, Robin Lapointe recalls several learning opportunities that were important. He cites, in particular, a workshop by Chloé Maheux (on the book Scaling-Up, by Verne Harnish), a conference by Marc Dutil, and the discovery of René Jean’s journey (Réflex Paysage).

« Many activities have marked me and still inspire me today. It’s also very interesting to hear members talk about their company and discover their working methods,’ he adds, highlighting the benefits of the benchmarking exercises he has participated in. ‘I like the community aspect of the coop… It’s a big business family, where important connections are made between people. It’s not a competitive relationship: we can count on each other. »

The co-owner recalls, for example, the support of Groupex during the pandemic, in a context of high demand and serious stock shortages. ‘I had the impression that we, the members, were a priority for the suppliers, and that was major. The coop has significant weight, its growth is done intelligently, and I am confident about its future. We feel like we’re in a boat that’s going in the right direction!

Groupex: A sustainable vision confirmed by B Corp certification

It’s official! We are thrilled to share a milestone that marks the culmination of 38 years of dedication and sustained effort: our cooperative is now B Corp certified. This achievement recognizes our continuous commitment to putting people at the heart of our priorities. This success has been made possible thanks to the collective engagement of our members, our partners suppliers, and our team.

What is B Corp certification?

Joining the B Corp movement means choosing to be part of a community of visionary businesses that use the power of business to generate a positive impact. It promises to uphold rigorous standards of social performance, transparency, and accountability. For us, becoming a B Corp means more than just achieving a score: it is a promise to never lose sight of our mission to have a beneficial impact on the planet and people.

Our coop is proud to join the ranks of around 50 Quebec-based B Corp certified companies (including Prana, Danone, Ciele Athletics, and Kase Me, to name a few!).

Our journey towards B Corp certification

Becoming the first Canadian horticultural cooperative to achieve B Corp certification is an honor that acknowledges our dedication to reconciling profit and the common good. With a score of 82.4 on the B Impact assessment, we have demonstrated our ability to meet the performance requirements of this certification. This is a significant step, but our journey doesn’t end here. There are still many areas we need to improve.

Foundations of our success

Our strength rests on three fundamental pillars: our members, our suppliers, and our team. These groups form the solid foundation of our success and our sustainable development strategy. The B Corp certification highlights the importance of each group in our governance and operations.

Our actions according to the five B Corp orientations

  • Governance: We have formally integrated our social and environmental commitment into our bylaws, ensuring responsible and ethical governance.
  • Employees: The well-being of our employees is at the heart of our concerns, with initiatives that promote work-life balance.
  • Community: We actively support social and environmental projects, strengthening our bond with the local community.
  • Environment: Our determination to reduce our ecological footprint translates into sustainable resource management.
  • Customers: The trust of our customers is paramount, and we are committed to offering them ethical products and services of the highest quality.

We want to thank our team, our partner, our suppliers, and our members who have contributed to this achievement. Together, we continue to work towards a more sustainable and responsible future while remaining true to the values that have guided our cooperative since its founding.


Under a mild sky, Magali Boutroy, Sustainable Development Officer for the Coop, attended the press conference held on May 1st by Scotts Canada Ltd, Modix Plastique Inc., and Balcan Packaging, a division of Balcan Innovations Inc. They unveiled the results of an exceptional partnership in which an experiment allowed the integration of recycled resin into flexible plastic packaging. This collaboration, which began in 2022, focused on the ambitious project of developing a circular economy for the peat packaging used by Scotts Canada. The goal? To integrate 25% post-consumer recycled resin into the packaging, thereby creating a closed loop using plastics recovered from the company’s sites.

Modix Plastique Inc, positions itself as a key player in the development of recycling and value-enhancement initiatives for post-consumer flexible plastic packaging across several sectors. The current project is a fine example of success in a sector where recovered plastics, due to their contamination with organic material, were orphaned and thus destined for export or landfill.

Emballages Balcan, for its part, has developed expertise in reducing the environmental impacts of its packaging. The implementation of Balcan Innovations’ solutions through this project will serve as an inspiring example for other culture substrate producers and companies in other product categories

Scotts Canada, a major supplier of consumer products for amateur gardening as well as for the professional horticulture sector in Canada, has integrated these innovative practices into its production by applying these advances to its peat packaging. Scotts Canada’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond improving its own products; the company also manufactures soil mixes, composts, and fertilizers for our Passion Jardins brand, owned by the Groupex Horticultural Cooperative.

Phase 2 : Passion Jardins Private Label Products

In Phase 2 of this ambitious project led by Scotts Canada, the Groupex Horticultural Cooperative is initiating a significant change concerning the packaging of our private label, Passion Jardins, to integrate up to 30% post-consumer recycled resins. This ongoing project marks a further step towards increasingly sustainable practices, aligned with our commitment to environmental protection and the promotion of the circular economy.

This day provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges encountered and the solutions adopted, highlighting the importance of cross-sector collaboration. Experts shared their views on the technological and logistical necessities to achieve these ambitious goals, as well as the importance of ongoing communication between all partners involved. This partnership is an exemplary model for other industries, demonstrating that innovation and cooperation can truly transform business practices towards greater sustainability. For Groupex, it is a pride to be part of this advancement, and we are eager to see the positive impact of these bags on our environment and on our customers’ satisfaction. Our commitment to this initiative is a testament to our dedication to promoting practices that respect and preserve our planet for future generations

Groupex Coop’s Commitment to Baby Plant Month: A Model of Solidarity and Community Impac

At Groupex Coop, we understand that our impact extends far beyond the confines of our horticultural activities. As a committed cooperative, our mission goes beyond everyday business to significantly and positively touch lives. It is with this spirit that we have engaged for the second consecutive year in the “Baby Plant Month” initiative, led by Mélanie Grégoire, a renowned horticulturist and member of our cooperative.

A community commitment rooted in personal history

This initiative is dedicated to fundraising to support research and the improvement of neonatal care, perfectly illustrating how businesses can channel personal experiences into driving forces for the common good. Since its launch in 2020, the initiative has raised over $550,000 for various health institutions. Every year, it is in the month of March that consumers can purchase baby plants. Many Coop members from the gardening sector offer these plants to their customers, thereby also demonstrating their support for the project.

Baby Plant Month” was born from Mélanie’s personal story, touched by the challenges of neonatology following the premature birth of her son.

A partnership model for sustainable impact

At Groupex, our participation in “Baby Plant Month” is part of a broader framework of our community engagement. Beyond financial contributions, our cooperative invests in volunteer activities and in forming strategic partnerships with local associations. These initiatives are an integral part of our annual mission to strengthen and support projects that benefit the community..

Solidarity in action

Groupex’s commitment shows that even small businesses can play a crucial role in creating significant impact. Every plant sold during this campaign represents much more than a transaction; it symbolizes a community commitment and a belief in a cause greater than our individual interests. It also demonstrates our willingness to support not only economic growth but also the social well-being of our community.

At Groupex, we firmly believe in the power of cooperation and mutual support. Join us in this venture, and together let’s redefine what it means to be a responsible and committed business to our community.

Aménagement Grenon : Knowing how to surround yourself weell

 In addition to guaranteeing us good prices, Groupex is a very interesting family: the members really support each other

Stéphane Grenon, owner of Aménagement Grenon

The only child, Stéphane Grenon, represents the third generation to helm the family horticultural business, established in Laterrière (Chicoutimi) since 1948. Following his grandfather François-Xavier and his father Marc, it’s now his turn to wear the many hats required to be an entrepreneur in the fields of landscaping, maintenance, and retail.

Supported by his partner Marie-Pier, who primarily ensures the smooth operation of the Aménagement Grenon garden center, Stéphane can also rely on a dedicated team of 45 people, more than half of whom are part of the landscaping department.

« My oldest employee has been here for at least 35 years,” he says with pride. “After that, I have many field staff who have been with us for 20 or 25 years. It pleases me that people stay for a long time. »

Despite having a core of long-standing employees, the labor shortage affecting all sectors in Quebec still compels the business owner to invest significant efforts in recruitment and improving working conditions within his company, particularly through acquiring increasingly advanced equipment. 2023 was the first year that foreign workers came to assist the Aménagement Grenon team.

To meet these challenges, mutual support among companies is also very important. “We’re not in competition… we even refer clients to each other!” he says, citing the support from Rébéca Rouleau, owner of Serres Dame Nature, a Groupex member business that regularly collaborates with his company.

Rapid transformation

From the age of 12, Stéphane spent his summers in the office running small errands for his father. Around the age of 15, he began to truly frequent the job sites to get acquainted with manual outdoor work. Then he pursued a college education in industrial electronics, all while continuing to be employed at Aménagement Grenon.

The least that can be said is that the company has changed significantly since Stéphane took over the leadership – and even more so since the very first greenhouse made by François-Xavier Grenon! One of the departments that Stéphane sought to expand quickly was retail sales, which now accounts for 40% of his revenue:

I’ve invested a lot in the garden center and since then, we’ve practically tripled… both in terms of revenue and size. At that time, it was important for us to be part of a group like Passion Jardins because we were still very small compared to the big chains. We wanted to standardize the image, make it more professional.”

Stéphane is proud of the revaluation approach that sets his company apart, and he wishes to continue promoting it: “Unlike companies that want to sell only new items, we encourage our clients to repurpose existing elements like shrubs, paving stones… It reduces costs for them and prevents waste.” 

Excellence and commitment honored at the annual congress of the Groupex Horticultural Cooperative

At the last annual congress of the Groupex horticultural cooperative, held on February 22 at the Entourage sur le Lac hotel, the horticultural community gathered to celebrate the excellence and commitment of its members. Hosted by comedian Jean-François Baril, the gala evening was an opportunity to highlight the members of the cooperative.

Deserved recognition for Manon Lavoie and Véronique Pepin

The Cooperator of the year award is a distinction given to Groupex members who have demonstrated exceptional involvement, contributing significantly to the growth and evolution of the cooperative and the horticultural sector. This year’s winners, Manon Lavoie and Véronique Pepin, stood out for their innovative initiative in training, showing remarkable commitment to cooperation and professional development. This award highlights the importance of individual commitment in serving collective goals, celebrating the synergy between entrepreneurship and cooperative values, essential for the success and sustainability of the cooperative.

Cooperator of the year, photo credit : Stéphane Bourgeois

Celebration of excellence and commitment

The evening was also an opportunity to present the Quercus trophies, recognizing member companies for their performance and commitment to the cooperative and its values. The winners, selected for their contribution to the growth and influence of Groupex, were praised for their strategic approach and active participation in the cooperative.

Among the highlights, the companies Serres Dame Nature and Multi Vrac Écono were honored for their exceptional belonging and dedication to the gardening sector, while Réflexe Paysage and Regard Vert were rewarded for their excellence in the landscaping sector. Serres Laliberté landscaper and garden center and Horti-Plus were also honored for their commitment and contribution to the sector.

Réflex Paysage ,Photo : Stéphane Bourgeois
Regard Vert, Photo : Stéphane Bourgeois
Serres Laliberté, Photo : Stéphane Bourgeois

Commitment to Sustainable Development

The company Repères was honored with the Quercus for Sustainable Development at the annual Groupex congress, highlighting its deep commitment to sustainable development. Repères stands out for its innovative projects, such as the creation of a community garden in collaboration with the Collaborative Gardens, using a gravity-fed irrigation system. Additionally, the company designed an outdoor festive space using recycled materials, demonstrating its commitment to the environment. These initiatives illustrate Repères’ holistic approach, integrating sustainability into its operations while making a positive contribution to its community and the environment.

Celebration of Youth and innovation

The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award was given to the horticultural center Foliflor, highlighting the dynamism and creativity of this young enterprise that brings innovative ideas and a breath of fresh air to the sector.

The success of this evening reflects the spirit of collaboration and innovation that drives the Groupex horticultural cooperative, and confirms its essential role in supporting and valuing professionals in the sector.

An enlightening annual congress for the Groupex Horticultural Cooperative.

On February 21 and 22, 2024, the idyllic setting of the Hotel Entourage on the Lake, in the heart of the beautiful Quebec region, hosted the congress and the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Groupex horticultural cooperative. This eagerly anticipated annual gathering broke participation records with 84 companies out of the 120 in our cooperative attending. This event marked a decisive turning point in our history, symbolizing our commitment to innovation and shared success.

A year of ambitious projects

This year’s congress was a catalyst for significant change for Groupex, heralding the rollout of several major projects that redefine our direction and image. Under the leadership of our president, Pierre Dagenais, we unveiled a series of key initiatives: a new, vibrant brand image, the launch of a completely revamped website, and the introduction of an enhanced extranet, all designed to strengthen our online presence and improve member services. These changes signify a profound digital transformation within the cooperative..

Pierre Dagenais, our President, with a contagious smile, exclaims:

This investment project, I tell you, is the most exciting and motivating one I’ve had the pleasure to lead. We are experiencing a real revolution at Groupex!

Inspiring highlights

The event kicked off with the notable presence of our strategic partners. It was a unique opportunity for them to showcase their services, highlighting the importance of their role and the value they bring to our cooperative. The event was especially marked by a particularly inspiring speech by Jean Martin Fortier, the renowned market gardener famous for his entrepreneurial success. Jean Martin Fortier’s testimony not only inspired our members with his authentic and sustainable approach but also sowed many enriching parallels with our own world of horticulture. These ideas took root among us, reinforcing our commitment to practices that value well-being and personal development. Jean Martin’s passion for responsible agriculture and its positive impact on communities resonated with our values, reminding us of the importance of staying true to our principles. By placing people and the environment at the center of all our decisions, we cultivate not only our gardens but also our community, rooting our work in sustainability and harmony.

This congress was a celebration of our raison d’être. We are committed to providing a framework where each member can thrive and succeed. That is the very essence of Groupex.

Sébastien Cordeau, general Manager of Groupex

Jean Martin Fortier’s testimony not only inspired our members with his authentic and sustainable approach but also sowed many enriching parallels with our own world of horticulture.

The unveiling of our new brand image and the HECTAR member space marked a key moment of the congress, illustrating our commitment to innovation and ongoing support for our members..

With these new developments, we are ready to embrace the future. Offering these personalized beers is our way of celebrating this new chapter together.

Mélanie Turbis, our Marketing director,

Foster Garden Center and Knowlton Landscapes: Growing Through Grouping

For nine years, Jean-Samuel Maynard has been participating in the activities and events of the cooperative. One might even say he is doubly a member since both the garden center and the landscaping company he heads are part of the network.

« Groupex really occupies an important place in the industry, a weight that makes a difference when you face difficult situations. The co-op is there for you! »

Jean-Samuel Maynard, co-owner, Foster Garden Center and Knowlton Landscapes

« To date, I am not aware of any other association like Groupex that plays the role of a purchasing group. We are part of other useful groups for networking, such as APPQ, but they don’t have the monetary benefits of Groupex. »

Groupex: Supporting Its Members

Like all horticultural businesses, Maynard’s were heavily shaken during COVID, and the co-op greatly helped them with supply issues. It’s thanks to the cooperative that we have strengthened our efforts in sourcing. Clearly, being members of Groupex at that time saved us!

« I called the team for a problem, and in one day, it was solved! »

He also recounts that the co-op is always there to support its members. The entrepreneur also addresses another major challenge faced by many businesses: the shortage of staff, particularly on construction sites. “I participate in the co-op’s program to bring in labor from abroad, which is really helpful. But I think this is an issue that Groupex will increasingly have to contribute to because it’s the challenge of the coming years.

Groupex Benefits: Savings, Learning, and Sharing Among Members

Beyond saving time and money, Maynard believes that other aspects of the Groupex network are also very important, especially the opportunity to visit member businesses. “Whether it’s in terms of vehicle fleet, facilities, or work methods, we really enjoy discovering what others are doing, asking questions, and sharing tips.” Other opportunities like the annual congress and conferences are also valuable, according to him.

The proof that we believe in it is that we’ve already brought some of our friends into the co-op,” says Maynard. Any advice for businesses hesitant about becoming members? “I think it’s important that your business has reached a certain level, to better take advantage of the financial benefits. And that you’re ready to grow… because with Groupex, things really start moving quickly!

Landscaping open doors : a memorable day at the heart of Eco-verdure’s universe

Every year, the Horticultural Cooperative Groupex organizes an essential meeting for the landscaping sector. This annual event is an opportunity for all our members to gain inspiration, network, and share experiences.

It was on September 9th that our members attended the 2023 edition of the Landscaping Open Doors Groupex. Over 100 members and 13 industry suppliers gathered at one of our members, based in Richelieu.


Eco-Verdure, renowned for its expertise in creating green spaces, is now a member of the family,  Services paysagers Dominique Filion a pillar of the sector. This strategic collaboration offered a fresh perspective on trends and quality in landscaping.


From 8:30 am, the excitement was palpable. For some, it was a discovery; for others, it was a rewarding reunion with peers. Eco-Verdure, as the host, proudly unveiled its landscaping masterpieces that combine aesthetics and functionality.


The highlight of the day? The guided tours by the Eco-Verdure team of four of their favorite projects from recent years. A unique opportunity for participants to interact directly with the Eco-Verdure team, understand their choices and techniques. The feedback was unanimous: admiration and inspiration.


Never before had an edition attracted so many. More than 100 members and 13 expert suppliers testified to the growing popularity of this annual initiative.

Wow, what a day! The teamwork between Eco-Verdure and Groupex was phenomenal. Thank you all for your energy and passion!

Maxime Proulx, Co-owner of Eco-Verdure
Hugo Landry, Dominique Filion & Maxime Proulx,
équipe Eco-Verdure 2023