Your Potvin & Bouchard renovation center has come a long way since it was founded in 1932! From humble beginnings as a carpentry shop, the banner is now well established in the Saguenay community, with four banners to serve you. Discover the key moments in our history here.
POTVIN & BOUCHARD started out as a partnership between Adélard Bouchard and Ovila Potvin. Together, the two ran a carpentry workshop and timber yard in Jonquière and later developed activities in several other operational niches to grow their business.
In 1941, the first Potvin & Bouchard store opened its doors on Saint-Jean Street, where its head office would remain for over 70 years. Then in 1950, the company added another feather to its cap by expanding into hardware. After the death of Adélard Bouchard in 1954, his wife took over as president, while four of his sons bought out Potvin’s shares. The Bouchard family had grown along with the business and was now its sole proprietor, though the original corporate name and philosophy remained the same. For years to come, the Potvin & Bouchard banner would continue to serve its mission of growing, modernizing and meeting the changing needs of its customers.
The family opened a second retail location in 1964, a cozy little shop on Chicoutimi’s Montcalm Street. That same year, a distribution centre was strategically opened just outside of Jonquière, on a plot of land nearly 1 million square feet in area.
In 1978, the company passed another milestone by opening a third location, a 14,000-square-foot store in Alma’s industrial park. With this location, Potvin & Bouchard truly cemented its place in the regional renovation and building materials market. After years of experience, the company had become highly successful and built lasting bonds with its clientele through a service-centred, community-focused approach.
The 1990s were a decade of growth and change for Potvin & Bouchard.
The company’s 37,000-square-foot main warehouse was completed in 1994, just in time for big-box stores to hit the Saguenay.
With the huge influx of multinationals, the Bouchard family decided to invest in its brand, doubling the area of its Chicoutimi location in 1996. In the same year, the Bouchards also opened a fourth location, on Port Avenue in La Baie. At 14,000 square feet, it was the largest store in the municipality—and in all of the Lower Saguenay. The brand also modernized its other locations, developing a new hybrid-store concept with the benefits of both a conventional renovation centre and a warehouse.
With four stores now serving the entire region, Potvin & Bouchard had become the largest hardware chain in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and a regional giant, with 117,000 square feet of sales area and 102,000 square feet of warehouse space.
When the devastating flood of July 1996 hit the region, Potvin & Bouchard employees responded to the crisis, getting actively involved to help meet the needs of the affected communities.
This kind of community support was second nature to the family brand after 60 years of putting down roots in the region. Over a third of each location’s employees have given at least 15 years of service to the company, and the Bouchard family remains very involved with its teams.
In July of 2008, the Bouchard family decided to move forward with a merger that would see the flagship brand of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean join forces with BMR Group.
Becoming a member of BMR Group would also mean gaining access to invaluable expertise in a variety of fields, including finance, marketing, human resources and purchasing—all key areas for Potvin & Bouchard’s future plans.
After the merger, the founding family members continued to play a vital role in the group, bringing with them the same entrepreneurial spirit that had made the brand such a success.
Since its humble beginnings in lumber sales and gradual forays into hardware, Potvin & Bouchard has not only grown exponentially but also come into its own. This is undoubtedly thanks to its roots as a family and regional business, in a community where people naturally come together. Through the years, the group has managed to stay true to those roots, with two family members, Annie and Robert Bouchard, still on the management team today.
Potvin & Bouchard celebrated its 85-year anniversary in 2017, looking back with pride on how far the Quebec banner had come since that 1932 handshake between Adélard Bouchard and Ovila Potvin in Jonquière.
Potvin & Bouchard now has 325 employees and stores with excellent locations in each of the towns where the company operates: Chicoutimi, Alma, Jonquière and La Baie.
The Alma store now owns another well-established chain of hardware stores in the region, Martel Group. Thanks to this fruitful collaboration between the two families, the Potvin & Bouchard banner is more competitive than ever!
With the Alma, Chicoutimi and La Baie stores all newly renovated, the Jonquière Potvin & Bouchard finally had its turn. In winter 2020, the store received updated facilities and a host of new features specially designed with customers in mind.