- Some grocery stores agreed to stock their produce.
- They bought more land.
- They built a small warehouse to free up the basement.
- They built an innovative packing centre where the potatoes could be washed. Patates Dolbec was one of the first companies in Quebec to do this! No more packing in the fields—now they had to invest in a bigger tractor, a new harvester and a tractor-trailer to deliver the potatoes to Marché Central in Montreal and some grocery stores.
- They purchased more land in Saint-Alban and Saint-Ubalde.
- They scaled up their Marché Central delivery from one trailer load of potatoes to two!
- They signed a contract with the Metro-Richelieu grocery chain.
- Herman and Francine’s talent, hard work and determination earned them a Mercuriade award for a primary production enterprise, given to companies that had shown exceptional performance in promoting a natural resource.
- Francine and Herman wanted to grow their company, but the fact that they didn’t speak English prevented them from expanding into new, lucrative markets. So they sent their son, Stéphan, to study in the United States. On his return at age 18, Stéphan was instructed by his parents to develop the US market and raise the company’s visibility in Quebec
- A new packing centre was built, equipped with the best available technology at the time.
- A huge controlled-atmosphere warehouse was built with a storage capacity of 260 trailer loads (13,000,000 pounds of potatoes). Patates Dolbec could now store its harvest and supply potatoes to customers year-round!
- The company continued to buy land with a view to enhancing crop quality rather than quantity
His death came as a huge shock and tremendous loss, both personally and professionally. Despite their grief, Francine and Stéphan decided to roll up their shirtsleeves and keep the dream alive. With the support of their solid team—including Jean-Luc Picard, an accountant with Bédard & Guilbault, and crop production manager Vital Béliveau—they kept the company going.
At the time of its founder’s death, Patates Dolbec owned 3,500 acres of land, harvested over 40,000,000 pounds of potatoes; had a storage capacity of 500 tractor-trailers; sold close to 4,000,000 ten-pound bags of potatoes per year; and employed 75 people.
With a view to diversifying its markets, Patates Dolbec started the fresh-cut processing company Légubec. From now on, the company would process its Canada #2 potatoes, along with other vegetables.
- The company started rotating its potato crops with cereal crops to protect its soils, keep them healthy and maintain the high quality of their potatoes.
- They continued buying land, acquiring 700 new acres.
- They also built new offices, which would be up and running the following year
To keep pace with growth, the administrative team had to be reorganized. With a solid new team in place, the company forged ahead.
- The second phase of the warehousing project was completed with the construction of a new atmosphere-controlled warehouse with a capacity of 260 trailer loads of potatoes.
- A major technological innovation was introduced: a GPS yield-mapping system on the harvester.
- The high-tech innovations continued with the installation of variable-rate seeding and fertilizing systems.
The company acquired a second vegetable processing plant, Légumes Lapointe, at Vanier in the Quebec City area. Légubec was moved to Vanier. Seeking to combine research with production, Patates Dolbec entered into a partnership agreement with Université Laval. From now on, the company would have an in-house agronomist and research laboratory for several different projects. To this day, the partnership has been extremely beneficial to both parties.
- Founding of the Portneuf-Mauricie Inc. fertilizer centre—a partnership between Patates Dolbec, Coop St-Ubalde and Coop Univers.
Acquisition of over 800 acres of land and purchase of high-tech agricultural equipment, including a tractor with an autopilot system (it basically drives itself!). The company also purchased its first two GPS guidance systems for potato planting. Technology is really changing the face of agriculture! This period also saw the construction of a new garage, fully equipped to accommodate all the new equipment.
The energy, innovation and business acumen of Stéphan and his team earned them the recognition of their peers: Stéphan received the Ernst & Young Quebec Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the agri-food sector.
- Ten years after his father passed away, Stéphan purchased the family business, becoming president and owner.
- Construction of a grain centre for drying and storing cereal crops.
- Purchase of Ferme Rompré, now called Bovibec, one of the biggest cattle feedlots in Quebec. With this acquisition, Patates Dolbec increased its total land by 2,000 acres.
- Patates Dolbec bought 75% of the shares in the vegetable processing company Coac inc., located in Portneuf.
- Stéphan was appointed chair of the Quebec Produce Marketing Association (AQDFL).
- Launch of the Champêtre line of pre-cooked potatoes (8 varieties, plain and seasoned)
- Purchase of the company R. Thomassin & Fils inc., a fresh-cut processing company.
- Purchase of more land from a local producer (over 500 acres). The company reached its target of 10,000 acres of land!
- Sale of Légubec inc. and Coac inc. to Saladexpress. Patates Dolbec then reinvested in the new company. We believe this partnership will allow us to become a major player in the fresh-cut vegetables market through top-quality products and excellent customer service.
- Investissements majeurs de 12 000 000$ dans le centre d’emballage pour sa modernisation! Des équipements ultra-moderne, un processus unique au monde pour assurer qualité, productivité, traçabilité et sécurité alimentaire! L’ouverture officielle de la nouvelle usine devrait avoir lieu en novembre 2017! On a bien hâte!
- We are celebrating 50 years of existence!