when Mr. Florent Leclerc, a truck driver from Ste-Christine d'Auvergne, Quebec, decided to embark on the production of charcoal and built its first charcoal kiln. Charcoal was initially considered a hobby and produced between contracts for gravel supply. Then, in 1960, Mr. Leclerc and his wife, Leonie Gignac decided to engage the whole family in the production of charcoal. From a modest beginning and difficulties in selling charcoal to the existing distribution network, the company started to sell its product directly to local stores without intermediaries. The first customers were Quebec Charcoal and in 1961, the Company's Canadian Copper Refinery in Montreal. The company registered its brand name ¨Charbon de bois feuille d’érable inc¨ (Maple leaf charcoal inc) in 1963 and began servicing the large food chains in Quebec, Canada.
the federal government of Canada chose the maple leaf as its national symbol, the same as in the company name registered a few years before. With a sudden strong brand recognition, the company started to benefit from a rapid expansion of its sales activities, especially in the province of Ontario. By then, the company had over fifteen kilns in operation and acted as the main buyer of charcoal from the local farmers of the Portneuf region.
the charcoal market for BBQ almost collapsed in favor of propane. The company could no longer find new buyers for charcoal nor for its by-products, coal fines. The sons of the owner joined the company at that time and decided that a new factory for charcoal briquets would be constructed to differentiate its product offering from the local competition. Briquets consisted of coal fines and starch-based natural binder. In 1981, the Maple Leaf briquets were launched in the BBQ market in Canada. A strategic alliance was created shortly after with the company Kendle and direct sales began with the retail chain Canadian Tire. In 1988, a solution had to be investigated to eliminate the smoke from the charcoal kilns resulting from the carbonization of wood. A first prototype was successfully installed in 1997, eliminating over 80% of all the smoke produced.
The Company was later sold to Mrs. Linda Dugas, whom presided over the development of the charcoal activities until September 2013. The company was then sold to two local developers of the Portneuf region, Misters Sylvain Naud & Simon Langlois.. A year later, the new owners commissioned a new processing plant to produce kiln dried firewood with a heat recovery system in synergy with the charcoal kilns. Today, the company employs over 25 employees and registered its first sales in Europe and in the United States, inaugurating a new era of growth for this innovative company in constant evolution for over half a century.
A new partner, Réjean Plamondon, replaces Simon Langlois, who sold his shares in the company and left it at the end of 2018. This new partner brings fresh impetus and other ideas about his expertise in business management. Mr. Plamondon has owned the Provigo supermarket in Saint-Raymond for over 15 years, while serving on the board of directors of CDRS Saint-Raymond. In the retail food sector, new expertise in administration, marketing and market development, as well as a network of contacts with distributors and retailers As for Mr. Sylvain Naud, he has been the head of this company for more than 5 years. He positions himself as a prime contractor with 25 years of experience in the forestry sector, as well as his expertise and credibility in this sector. Having worked with former owners for several years, he has extensive experience in equipment manufacturing.
Charbon de Bois Feuille d'Érable
Maple Leaf Charcoal
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