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!””.