“A beautiful, enduring flooring experience created with authentic artistry, ingenuity and environmental integrity.” David Lauzon

I’ve been part of the Lauzon Flooring family for a bit more than two years now. I’m from a different part of Quebec, so I wasn’t familiar with the beautiful Outaouais countryside and had never heard the riveting story of the tenacious entrepreneur who worked so hard to promote his region.

Today I am honored to wrap up Lauzon Flooring’s 30th anniversary celebrations with an interview with our president and founder, David Lauzon.

A little over 30 years ago, David Lauzon was a man with a dream and vision that laid the groundwork for what has become one of North America’s leading manufacturers of premium hardwood flooring.

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The start of a grand adventure

 Q: How did it all start?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial bent. While working a student job in a local mill, I spotted a business opportunity in buying and reselling white pine logs. So in 1985 I founded David Lauzon Enterprises Ltd. with a small initial investment of $5,000.

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Q: We know interpersonal relationships are important to you. Do you remember your first client?

It’s true I place a lot of importance on our relationships with our past, current, and future clients, but also with our suppliers and employees because they’re the ones we have to thank for our success.

I remember our first client very well—Théo Mineault from Masson-Anger (Gatineau today). They are still in business manufacturing and installing custom kitchen and bathroom cabinets in Outaouais.

 

Q: Why hardwood flooring?

It all started with an opportunity to meet a need. Early on, I recognized the potential of fine hardwood flooring in a burgeoning housing market. Before wood floors were even fashionable, I saw them as a renewable and sustainable resource that when properly harvested and used would contribute to a more balanced environment. From the start, I was convinced that the comfort, natural beauty, and resilience of wood would appeal to homeowners, builders, and designers, and my commitment to that idea has not wavered.

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The Growth

Q: What were the milestones in the company’s development?

Since its foundation, Lauzon Flooring has gone through several major growth spurts to reach our current production capacity of over 2.5 million cubic meters a year. Strategic investments were made for a variety of reasons such as bringing in new technology, creating synergies, or adding value to existing products and services.

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1987: Opened a value-added hardwood floor finishing plant in Papineauville.

1990: Developed exports to Asia and Europe. This strategy positioned the company among the leading Canadian hardwood flooring exporters and spurred rapid growth.

1992: Founded DV Hardwoods inc. The company’s mission was to supply the flooring plant by building a network of direct suppliers and to find markets for low-grade wood unsuitable for being made into flooring. Lauzon Flooring began to focus its operations on manufacturing and selling solid unfinished hardwood flooring.

1995: Founded Cubex (today Lauzon Recycled Wood Energy Inc.). The company’s mission was to recover unused wood waste generated during the plank manufacturing process and transform it into highly efficient, low-polluting densified wood pellets.

1997: Acquired the Makibois Inc. plant in Maniwaki and opened the finishing plant. This was the first step in pursuing a long-term strategic vision—vertical integration with the goal of building a sustainable supply chain. Makibois had the facilities we needed to immediately diversify Lauzon’s product offering by opening a finishing plant.

1999: Launched Polynium+ and opened an engineered flooring manufacturing plant in Maniwaki.

2000: Acquired a second hardwood sawmill in Déléage (Industries Franc Bois inc.).

2001: Acquired Parquets Dubeau Ltd. in Saint-Norbert. Founded in 1936, Dubeau Floors celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.

2002: Launched the Polynium+ finish with SunshieldTM anti-yellowing solar protection.

2003: Acquired the Thurso sawmill and Fraser Papers forest land. These acquisitions marked a critical step toward our long-term strategic vision by consolidating the vertical integration of our operations and raw materials supply chain.

2006: Began investing $50 million in the Thurso sawmill.

2008: Obtained FSC® forest management certification.

2009: Launched the revolutionnary Titanium® finish.

2012: Made a major investment in the Papineauville plant.

2012: Launched the new Lauzon Flooring brand identity by rolling out an innovative sales system bolstered by a unique high-end display called REV and the development of a direct sales network for the Greater Toronto, Western Canada, and Florida markets.

2013: Launched Pure Genius®, the world’s first air purifying wood flooring, gaining Lauzon Flooring a unique position in this market.

2014: Set up the Expert engineered flooring production line at our Saint-Norbert plant and introduced the product, aimed primarily at building contractors.

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Lauzon Today

Q: Where is Lauzon today?

Today Lauzon Flooring is a manufacturer of premium hardwood flooring with 500 employees at six plants across Quebec. We are still headquartered in Papineauville. We also have a business office in Laval, in the greater Montreal area, and have a sales and marketing team covering North America.

 

Q: What are Lauzon’s values?

We believe in being honest, upright, and exacting, and in creating an open-door policy where employees are respected and have a voice. We also strive to develop the leadership, competency, and commitment necessary to create a stimulating, creative, and visionary environment.

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Q: What is Lauzon’s mission?

To be a world leader in the manufacturing and merchandising of value-added, superior quality hardwood flooring, while meeting the changing needs of our customers.

 

Q: Why is offering products made in Canada from forests in Canada important to you?

With globalization, you have to find a way to stand out by offering well-made products with that little something extra.

Keeping our production in Canada (Quebec) is a long-term guarantee, a way to ensure our economic success and staying power. It also helps us bolster the economic viability of the country and province.

“Made in Canada” is becoming more and more of a draw with consumers who are looking for quality products they can trust.

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Q: What does innovation mean at Lauzon?

Since our inception, we have always strived for excellence, drawing on scientific and technological advances to offer hardwood flooring of unparalleled beauty, precision, and craftsmanship.

Our goal of durability and sustainability led to a number of innovations in finish and construction: Polynium+ and NextStep® in 1999, SunshieldTM in 2002, Titanium® in 2009, the groundbreaking Pure Genius® in 2013, and Expert engineered flooring in 2014.

But our drive for innovation doesn’t stop there, as evidenced by our DecoZone viewer tool, our ever-evolving website, and our presence on social media and in stores.

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Q: What does sustainability mean at Lauzon?

Lauzon Flooring was the first vertically integrated company in the industry, which positions us on the cutting edge of responsible resource management. Our manufacturing process begins in Outaouais (Quebec), on two million acres of forest land managed by us, and continued in our sawmill and finishing plants.

Since our inception, we have put forests first by adopting best practices in forestry management. We are also very proud of our ISO 14001 certification.

The quality of our machining and finishing processes, which minimize losses, optimize resources, and reduce our environmental footprint, speaks volumes about our commitment to making an exceptional line of eco-friendly flooring.

When you choose a Lauzon floor you’re helping preserve natural resources for generations to come.

 

Q: What excites you most about your company?

The employees. A company’s success comes from the commitment of its employees, and we owe ours to a dedicated group of people.

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What’s next?

Q: How do you see the future at Lauzon Flooring?

Lauzon is like a tree: it has roots. It’s strong, healthy, and growing. By pursuing our focus on innovation, we will develop quality hardwood floors and unique solutions to ensure Lauzon’s continued development and long-term viability.

Thirty years is a significant milestone and our “from forest to floor” vision of beautifully sustainable comfort will guide us through the next 30 years.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your continued trust as we start a new leg in our journey.

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YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE PICTURES ABOUT OUR 30 YEARS STORY? TAKE A LOOK AT OUR Pinterest board!

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