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Southshore is full of historic moments.
Travel into time, and get to know the entire story.
After losing his job as a journalist and working briefly in a bank, Eugène Laflamme opened up a small toy factory in Saint-Romuald and hired three employees. When he found out that a sawmill had gone bankrupt in Sainte-Croix, he borrowed $2,000 from his uncle—a priest in Quebec City—and bought the old mill.
Shortly after, he moved his operations to Sainte-Croix and, upon the advice of his brother-in-law, began manufacturing furniture as well, starting with dining room sets.
In 1941, a fire ravaged the factory. Eugène had no insurance to speak of, but the community rallied around him and helped him rebuild.
Ten years later, the factory once again burnt to the ground, and the community came to his aid yet again.
So we haven’t had to call on our neighbours for support. But having strong ties to the communities we serve continues to be an important part of our DNA as a company.
From 1956 to 1963, Guy got to know the family business inside and out. Not content to simply run the company, he tried his hand at every single position in the factory and learned how to operate all of the machinery.
This appreciation for how things are made the artisanal nature of manufacturing, the understanding of craft still inspires South Shore today.
In 1969, Eugène was interviewed for an article and asked to describe his vision of furniture in the year 2000: “Furniture will last as long as people like the look and feel of it in a room, and then they’ll replace it with something else. The most important room of the house will be the living room where college students will connect to classes and watch conferences, where dads will do their accounting and check their bank statements on screens and where moms will browse the latest offerings from stores and place their orders. And everyone will be able to watch whatever program they like on TV, whenever they feel like it. The furniture in this room will be used several hours a day and will need to take a lot of wear and tear. In short, the furniture of tomorrow will come in a variety of styles, reflect the latest trends, and be affordable thanks to modern industrialization.”
(Okay, his gender divisions may be a little dated: we know for a fact that “moms” and “dads” both shop and bank online!) But when it comes to furniture, it’s true that consumers are looking for style, solidity and pieces that can evolve with their changing needs and tastes—without costing a fortune.
In the winter of 1975, another factory caught fire, this time in Laurierville. Eugène’s son, Guy, who was travelling abroad, hopped on a plane, met the insurance reps at 3 am and said, “Take your pictures fast, our employees will be back in at 7 am. We’ve got furniture to make for our clients.” The team showed up early the next day and got to work. They repaired more than a hundred motors. They built a temporary roof to keep the snow out. And in just seven days, production was up and running again.
To this day, our staff members demonstrate this same level of commitment to the company, in ways big and small.
In 1984, Guy’s son, Jean, fresh out of school, was offered a contract as a sales director at Xerox. Instead, he decided to join the family business. He started out in the factory and worked his way to head office.
Whether your last name is Laflamme or not, the South Shore team feels like one big family. New generations continue to join the fold, and, like Jean, they work hard to take on exciting new roles within the company.
Eugène and Guy each served as mayors in Sainte-Croix and played a huge role in developing the town’s infrastructure and fostering community spirit. At one point, over half of the town worked at the plant.
We invest in our staff. We care about our customers. And we get behind causes that are important to us, specifically those involving the wellbeing of youth and children.
Back in the day, furniture was transported by sleigh from Sainte-Croix to Laurier Station. It took a week to load the wagon at the train station and a full day to get to the station, where the goods were then loaded on a train and sent to the Sears and Eaton stores in Toronto.
We ship over 50% of all our Canadian & US orders the same day.