A Quebec manufacturer of tombstones, which has made monuments to great names in our history, was able to do well during the pandemic by sourcing granite here rather than in China.
“Those who decided to have their products manufactured in Asia are living the consequences now. The supply chains are a little more difficult, let's say ”, shares in an interview with the Journal Patrice Trudel, president of Granite Lacroix.
Founded in 1952 by Albani Lacroix in his house, the Quebec SME that he now heads manufactures between 1,200 and 1,500 funeral monuments per year.
Over the years, the Laval SME has won major tombstone contracts, some for prominent Quebecers, who marked their time in their own way.
From legendary hockey players to charismatic politicians and beloved artists, Granite Lacroix has made history with its tombstones engraved in time.
Maurice Richard, Robert Bourassa, Jean Drapeau, René Angélil, Pierre Falardeau, Brother André … were entitled to a monument made by the SME of Laval.
“We make them from A to Z. We buy blocks of granite from Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean, the Mont-Laurier region and elsewhere in the country,” explains Patrice Trudel with pride.
In recent months, unlike others, the pandemic has not bled its sales because the company has been able to continue to serve its customers by relying on its Quebec suppliers.
“We take the pieces of granite, we cut them, we polish them, we shape them, we engrave them. We do all the steps unlike our competitors, who buy the finished products in Asia and who only engrave the name of the deceased ”.
He points out that granite from India or China is expensive to bring here because the raw material is heavy. Not to mention the commercial chain, which has been weakened in recent months by a succession of crises.
“There was the strike at the port. We are very happy to manufacture locally. With all the local buying movement since the start of the pandemic, it comforts us in our decision, ”shares the businessman.
The pandemic, a turning point
A stone's throw from him, his wife and vice-president of the company, Léna Sauvageau, agrees: the pandemic has been a tipping point.
“Before, people came to the store in person. We now have a lot of purchases by email or via our web. We added photos to our catalog. We talk to customers on the phone. These sales have surely doubled or tripled, ”says Ms. Sauvageau.
In recent weeks, she has seen grandparents and baby boomers contact them like never before because they had the electronic equipment and the time to take an interest in their burial monument.
“This year, because of COVID-19, people realize that they are not immortal”, concludes with philosophy Patrice Trudel, president of Granite Lacroix, glancing at the rough stone.
► Last year, more than 254 funeral homes operated in Quebec, according to Statistics Canada.