April: From a hobby to 11 supermarkets

Avril Health Supermarkets may have a name in French, but until recently I didn’t know it was a Quebec company.

When I saw the banner arrive in Quebec a few years ago, it was such a big deal that I felt like it was a success elsewhere. And co-founder Sylvie Senay tells me that impression is widespread. It’s a pretty shallow observation, as if we still have trouble believing in our entrepreneurial successes…

On the eve of the April 11 inauguration on Quebec City’s Boulevard Laurier, which cost $10 million and covers an area of ​​36,000 square meters, the businesswoman is proud of the progress made since the company was founded in 1995 .

“When we started we didn’t know organic was going to be trending and maybe we contributed to that wave without really realizing it. We are proud of that! ” She says.

Democratize organic

It all started as a hobby. Sylvie worked in the banking sector and her husband Rolland Tanguay was a building contractor when their couple was born a year before their business adventure began. Sylvie refused to be transferred to another job and took a sabbatical. Then Rolland heard about a natural products store for sale in Granby. Sylvie saw it as a great hobby and bought it. She threw herself into the business with passion and from renovation to expansion, Rolland decided to join her two years later to grow the business. The health basket became Avril, which is reminiscent of sunny days.

“We wanted to democratize organic and natural products. People always say organic is expensive and we wanted to end that belief. And we’re fine. We are told that it is not expensive, even that we sometimes have vegetables cheaper than in traditional grocery stores,” observes Sylvie Senay.

Having had a distribution center since 2018, Avril’s purchasing power allows it to negotiate good prices and even source supplies directly from designated suppliers. Rebates are paid back to consumers. Also, they’re the ones who got Avril out of Granby.

“People came from Longueuil, Sherbrooke and even Quebec to fill up with us because we were known for having good prices. Due to the demand for stores in these and other cities, we have developed in other regions, ”says the entrepreneur.

growth

At 67, she still loves her work and has a strong appetite for growth. She and her husband aim to open two stores a year after Saint-Bruno and Montreal last year. Grocery is a very competitive industry, but the duo don’t feel like they’re fighting giants because they have their own niche. But imagine the covetousness his business must inspire!

“We’re being watched a lot by other banners,” admits Sylvie. But we are preparing our successor internally, we have competent people around us. »

She clarifies that she will not stop because passion and health are there. And as her husband says: work doesn’t make you die!

April

  • Founding year: 1995
  • Founder: Sylvie Senay and Rolland Tanguay
  • place of the headquarters : granny
  • Field of activity : feed
  • number of employees: 1000

PROFILE OF SYLVIE SENAY

  • Work : co-founder
  • Age : 67 years old
  • Education: Certificate in Administration

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