Serres Pierre Brisebois et Fils : On a family scale

Here is the translation of the text into Canadian English:

Since 1980, the horticultural company founded by Pierre and Diane Brisebois has been serving a very loyal clientele in Laval. Today, led by a second generation of managers, it has also been offering a thriving garden center for 15 years.

“When our long-time customers talk about our parents, it makes us nostalgic, but it’s always positive,” says Éric Brisebois, who now directs the family business with his brothers Philippe and Dominic, as well as his sister-in-law Marie-Ève.

« On se dit souvent : “Si seulement ils voyaient comment la compagnie a évolué… ils n’en croiraient pas leurs yeux!” On est fiers d’avoir réussi à continuer dans une voie qu’ils auraient aimée. »

Éric Brisebois, Co-owner

A gradual transition

The transfer of the business to the new generation of Brisebois was marked by some trials, particularly the death of its two founders four years apart. But today, Serres Pierre Brisebois et Fils (PBF) are stronger than ever: their vast production greenhouses and their garden center on Dagenais Boulevard are hugely successful. And their team of 18 people is made up of employees with several years of loyal service.

While Dominic got involved very early in plant production with his parents, Éric says that for him, the decision wasn’t necessarily straightforward: “After studying agronomy, I worked for four other companies in the horticultural sector before making my ‘return to the roots’,” he recalls. “Even though I was convinced I would never work for the family business, it seems it was ingrained in me! When my brother decided to build a garden center, I thought if I didn’t try, I would regret it.”

In 2010, Éric and Philippe joined Serres PBF, teaming up with their brother Dominic. “We’re all versatile, but each has a different strength. I think the business works well because we manage to really leverage each person’s strength.”

Today, Dominic mainly takes care of the greenhouses; Éric, the garden center; and Philippe is a ‘hybrid’ active on both sides, in addition to taking care of machinery repair and maintenance. The core of the business is completed by the indispensable Marie-Ève, Dominic’s wife, who handles accounting and purchases for the garden center.

A Family Atmosphere

Formerly specialized in wholesale, Serres PBF added a new string to their bow in 2007: retail sales. This expansion led to strong growth. To support it, the company relied on the support of Groupex, particularly for advertising and supply, not to mention the mutual aid between members, which Éric finds very important: he is also involved in the cooperative within the Passion Jardins committee as well as the committee that develops flyers for the banner.

“We are now at the peak of our growth: we could grow more, but we decided to stay on a more family scale. There are a lot of advantages to being a small team: our customers feel that they are not just numbers, we know their names and what they bought last time. It’s not even intentional: we’re just like that. My parents were too! And I think our customers appreciate it.”

– Éric Brisebois, Serres PBF

Regarding recent transformations, the manager also cites the new configuration of his garden center, whose public-accessible area was significantly expanded during the pandemic. “It was an idea to respond to sanitary measures, but we’re going to keep it. People love wandering in the section formerly reserved for production: they like to see how it happens, and they have much more choice than before!”