SME Universe | Plush heavyweight enters Costco

It is a major breakthrough that is being carried out smoothly.

Posted at 8:00 am

Marc Tison

Marc Tison
The press

Heavy stuffed animals from Manimo are making their way onto the shelves of Costco and Walmart Accès Pharma pharmacies.

Designed by Longueuil-based company fdmt for children aged 3 to 12, these comfortable cuddly toys, weighing one to two kilograms, lighten the mind while stressing the body. They provide a feeling of calm in fearful situations and can promote alertness and concentration.

They were mainly distributed in schools and specialized clinics, but the pandemic has both increased pressure on children and brought the problems of youth stress to the attention of the general public.

“We’ve really seen an opening lately,” says Michelle Vallée, director of sales and marketing at fdmt. “With the pandemic and stress levels, we are talking more about difficulty concentrating. »

“So when we knocked on the doors of major retailers, we immediately knew we had to help kids manage their stress. »

The first contacts with Costco were made at the end of 2021. Manimo stuffed animals will be available in 10 stores next October. Thanks to the agreement signed earlier this year with Accès Pharma, stuffed animals are showing their full weight in about thirty new points of sale. The offensive carried out by fdmt over the past year has resulted in the Manimo menagerie appearing in most pharmacy chains in Quebec.

“We listened really quickly,” says Michelle Vallée happily. It has to be done, for a small company like us that comes with a plush at a pretty hefty price tag. But it’s all the added value to its therapeutic side that’s really interesting. »

The idea came from the president and founder of fdmt, Karine Gagner, in the early 2000s.

“What was a big motivation was her own child who was diagnosed with autism,” says Ms.me Canyon. “It was a product that didn’t exist on the market. She worked with occupational therapists to create a therapeutic stuffed animal. Because the deep pressure that can be applied to a good body surface helps a lot for children with special needs. »

Manimo cuddly toys are weighted down with small recyclable plastic balls, the mass of which adapts to the body of the small animals thanks to the stuffed shell.

With around thirty employees, fdmt specializes in the sale of “sensory products”. Manimo stuffed animals, which retail in four animal versions, are the only products designed by the company.

They were made in Quebec for fifteen years, but increasing demand had prompted the small company to outsource production to Asia.

However, the contracts signed this year open a new era for the company.

“It completely changes the game,” says Michelle Vallée. At Costco we talk about pallets. It’s very different, and it also brings us a change in business model. »

So much so that the company is wondering if it might not be time to repatriate the Manimo factory.

“This is a project that we are studying, because the transport is becoming more expensive and we also have to be sure of the raw material,” informs the director.

“We think we could have better control here with a fully automated line, which also means very significant investments. »

A project that weighs heavily financially, but could be comforting.

Qualinet overwhelmed by the deluge


PHOTO PATRICK SANFAÇON, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

Qualinet’s phone system was overloaded after the torrential rains that hit Montreal on September 13.

Qualinet’s phone system was overloaded after the torrential rains that hit Montreal on September 13. The torrential rain, which doused some areas of the metropolitan area with 40mm of water in an hour, caused sewer clogs and damage to thousands of homes, businesses, industries and institutions, which in turn prompted a spate of calls to the company’s phone service, which specializes in disaster recovery. Nearly a thousand customers contacted Qualinet in less than three hours in the Montreal and Lanaudière regions. The volume of calls received by some call centers in 90 minutes was so high that the system was overloaded. “We’ve noticed that severe thunderstorms are becoming more common in Quebec and that our 24/7 phone service sometimes faces capacity issues in terms of the number of simultaneous calls,” the company’s president, Éric Pichette, said in a press release. “In this regard, I confirm that we will quickly deploy a system similar to that of 911 services to always respond to our customers. It will be an investment of almost $200,000. »

A first shop for KaseMe


ILLUSTRATION PROVIDED BY KASEME

Illustration of the KaseMe store that will open its doors on September 21st at the Laurier Québec shopping mall

Quebec-based cellular phone case maker KaseMe is venturing out of its home and opening its first store in Quebec. KaseMe opened the door two years ago with a pop-up store in the same place during the holidays. The store will open on September 21 at the Laurier Quebec shopping center. Founded in 2015, KaseMe creates and prints in Beauce plastic cases for mobile phones with exploded graphics. Since then it has expanded its range to include headphone cases, laptop sleeves and chargers. In addition to its website, the company has already sold its products in 250 retail outlets across the country. She saw her sales grow to 7.5 million in seven years. With the addition of this first store, KaseMe brings its workforce to 30. It plans to expand the concept throughout Quebec. If consumers take the call, of course.

Quebec’s polymer sector is building a binder

Alliance Polymères Québec, a group of companies in the plastics and composites sector, launched a collaborative portal for its industry on September 13 – a kind of connection for the 500 companies in the sector, mainly SMEs. “We’ve been working on it for more than a year and a half,” says Simon Chrétien, Managing Director of Allianz. “It’s not just a portal, an extranet or an intranet. It is an industry social network. It offers manufacturers of plastic parts, their customers, suppliers and distributors “a central location, a common home where they can find everything they need in terms of information.” The portal presents a business directory, document templates, a discussion forum, exchange groups. It also features a terminology dictionary of 500 French plastics industry terms and their English equivalents, developed with financial support from the Office québécois de la langue française, “so everyone speaks the same language,” says Simon Christian. The freely accessible portal is also aimed at all companies interested in the industry. “You will find information, suppliers, partners there. Definition of binder according to the portal’s dictionary: “Adhesive used to bond a batch of components (dry particles, plastics, fibers, etc.) together. »

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Gabelblau is based at La Table Ronde. The St. Lawrence marine resource sustainable management program at the Exploramer science museum in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts has partnered with the La Table Ronde collective to certify 78 of its restaurants. This certification creates links between fishermen and gourmet restaurateurs and supports the marketing of Quebec seafood.

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