A Quebec school furniture maker ignores it in its own backyard

The Quebec maker of the famous orange chairs we see everywhere in our schools finds it hard to stomach that certain school centers in his part of the country are shunning him, opting for furniture instead.” Made in the USA “.

“I have 140 employees who pay taxes. At my five factories in the Farnham area, I make a salary of $4 million a year,” sighs Gilles Berthiaume, CEO of Alpha-Vico.

“They bought American tables from the KI company at Mgr-Douville School in Farnham. They paid over $2500 each for them (the 10ft version) while I earned them for $1500 (the 12ft version),” he claims.

It is characterized by the fact that the tables are not only more expensive, but also shorter, so fewer students can sit on them.

However, in the county of Brome-Missisquoi, the manufacturer Alpha-Vico is visible. He takes part in the activities of the region. He and his sister Claudine sometimes even serve lunch to neighborhood students.

“American companies will not sponsor our sports teams. They don’t do spaghetti dinners with us,” says the sales manager at her side.

“I don’t understand why American standards are required when we talk about the Blue Basket and local sourcing. That’s not consistent,” says Annie Messier, who works with her in sales, hanging between a customer visit.

While people are going elsewhere to buy their chairs, desks and tables, Alpha-Vico is having trouble capturing the appeal of ” Made in the USA » in the midst of the buy-local campaign.

forced layoffs

Nowadays some descriptions are even written in English with American standards to eliminate them, suggests Gilles Berthiaume.

“Not all schools do that. We have good customers across the country. There are professionals”, but he wants to qualify.

Nevertheless, the decisions of some leave a bitter aftertaste that has an effect on the factory floor. And what had to happen happened.

“I thanked twenty employees last week because the orders have fallen,” says Gilles Berthiaume from Alpha-Vico, touched.

What irritates the businessman most is that the chairs chosen are often more expensive and, moreover, are made outside of Quebec.

“They sometimes pay $135 for a chair when they can get it for $35, so 1,000 chairs is $100,000 more,” the entrepreneur laments.

Centered on defense

Interviewed by The newspaperSchool centers quickly resisted.

“We will not grant an interview on this subject because we only spoke to them yesterday. [13 septembre]regarding the reasons for non-compliance that led to the non-selection of this company’s application in the public tender”, Audrey Leboeuf replied to communications from the Center de services scolaire du Val-des-Cerfs.

at protocolthe center claimed to have accepted the tender for the purchase of 16 tables via the Comite d’achats group de la Montérégie et de l’Estrie.

A hundred kilometers away, at the Marguerite Bourgeoys school service center, her spokeswoman, Mélanie Simard, said she did everything right.

“As a public body, we ensure that the acquisition rules are applied and enforced. [biens et services] and work from defining a need,” she said.

“You will understand that we cannot provide information on the offers of companies that are interested in our needs,” she summarized.

Foundation, endowment : 1980

Employee : 140

Factories : 5

Customers (Country): Canada, United States

Products: Chairs, desks, folding tables, stools

Source: Alpha Vico

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