A century of achievement…
The story of Groupe Bellemare is first and foremost, the story of a dedicated, hard-working Québec family with deep values and driven by a desire to create and to succeed.
Our story begins well before 1959 with Mr. Thomas Bellemare, assisted by his wife Florence, managing his father Nérée’s business. Nérée was a farmer, but he also had a sideline business moving houses. So it was a logical progression for Thomas to step in to provide continuity and contribute his dynamism to this speciality business. Thomas became well-known and respected in the field, both through his work and through his affiliation with social and sporting organizations.
Legend has it that Thomas acquired his first truck following a 1935 house move that netted him a gain of $400. You could say that this is the moment that the Bellemare corporate business really begins.
The Thomas Bellemare company is incorporated at the dawn of Quebec’s “Quiet Revolution”. The family-values character of the company is established by the presence of Thomas’ four sons: Gilles, Luc, Raymond and Maurice. At this time, they move buildings, build houses and mix their own concrete in a small mixer. Yes that’s right, in a small mixer! They do snow removal in the winter and a variety of jobs for their municipality, the government and clients in agriculture.
That same year, a public-access gas station is built under the B/A banner.
The Bellemare brothers decide to sell and service John Deere farm machinery. The company acquires its first heavy-load machinery: bulldozers for agricultural ditching.
Their main client Ciments Maski ltée of Louiseville Québec, is a concrete manufacture without a truck fleet. They take the plunge and buy the company. As concrete work begins to occupy most of their time and effort, they see no option but to change their initial vocation. The agricultural machinery, house moving and construction business are dropped. But due to the seasonal nature of concrete pouring, the company decides to continue with snow clearing.
The early 1970s marks an important milestone for the company. Following the death of its founder in 1971, new life is breathed into the Company by its move to Trois-Rivières-Ouest in Québec.
Purchase of the first new Poclain LC80 excavator. Actually Maurice Bellemare operated it himself for over 6 months in Baie Trinité (Sept-Îles), Québec.
Construction of the concrete plant in the industrial park, Trois-Rivières-Ouest.
Construction of the concrete plant at Louiseville.
Purchase of the third and fourth concrete plants in Trois-Rivières-Ouest and Shawinigan.
Major expansion of the garage in Yamachiche.
Acquisition of Sables des Forges Inc. as a source of good quality sand for the concrete plants.
Acquisition of Béton Rive Nord in St. Basile.
Beginning of freight and dimensional-load transportation.
The concrete plant on Sidbec street in Trois-Rivières-Ouest is closed, because there is already another plant on Ste-Marguerite street.
During that same year, the Bellemare brothers are also involved in mega projects such as Silicium Bécancour, nuclear power plant construction in Gentilly, the aluminum foundry and port facilities at Bécancour. Also, a sandblasting plant is implemented in the Forges district. There was no shortage of big projects!
Les Entreprises Thomas Bellemare et Fils and Les Ciments Maski ltée are merged to create Thomas Bellemare ltée.
Residential construction and agricultural development are booming and small and medium-sized businesses are sprouting up everywhere. They take advantage of these opportunities to add several trucks to their fleet. Through their expertise, determination and hard work, the Company becomes a very important service provider and leader in the Mauricie region.
The Trois-Rivières Grand Prix, a variety of cultural festivals and a range of organizations benefit from their participation.
With the help and expertise of Mr. Renaud Côté who had acquired extensive expertise as an employee at Québec Grue, the Bellemare brothers Raymond and Gilles create a crane division. They see it as an opportunity to increase their presence in the construction sector. After thoroughly studying the market, they decide to form Bellemare Crane Division with Renaud Côté as head of the company. Major investments are made, and the results are positive.
The Company decides to explore a new niche: dry-waste container rental. Around twenty containers are made available for rent.
The winds of change are blowing: it’s the beginning of large wind-power projects. Groupe Bellemare’s Transportation sector is well positioned to take advantage of the boom. Economic activity in northern Québec such as mining and hydroelectric development represent an important market for the company.
After numerous applications, the company obtains a dry-materials landfill license for the Des Forges sandpit from the Department of the Environment. The site provides a double return since, before landfilling dry materials, raw materials are extracted and sold.
A third-generation of family owners comes to the fore. Jean-Luc Bellemare is the first and starts his career in the field of transportation. Serge Bellemare opts for the Landfills, Abrasives and Minerals Division which has become a valuable asset through its success.
The family is saddened by the untimely death of Raymond Bellemare at the age of 58. His passing brings management changes to the company. Two shareholders, Jean-Luc and Serge are able to build on a very solid foundation and work their way up the organization. Transport, concrete, heavy machinery, engineering and cranes are some of the activities that became part of everyday operations. Under the leadership of Jean-Luc (Luc’s son), and Tom and Serge (Gilles’ sons), a third generation of Bellemares officially takes over.
Beside acquiring Transport Lou-Gra of St. Eustache, the Transportation division invests heavily in the development of specialized transport.
Thomas Bellemare ltée is awarded the prestigious “Construire” (Building) award by L’Association de la Construction du Québec, in the Mauricie Bois-Francs Lanaudière region.
Tom Bellemare who took charge of the concrete division, adds cranes, engineering and excavation to his responsibilities.
The new millennium
2001 – 2004
The Abrasives and Minerals division, noting a high market demand, adds recycled glass to its service offering, a revolution in the field since this product presents no health risks to users.
Acquisition of Béton Prémont
Projects: Imprimerie Transcontinental, expansion of Maxi supermarket in Louiseville, numerous culverts for the Quebec Department of Transportation and Caisse Populaire Laviolette’s office space.
The Company custom-orders a 3-axle stone slinger, a unique piece of equipment in Canada.
The Environment division acquires ten 12-cubic-yard containers and 25 and 40 cubic-yard containers. With this last addition, the sector can now operate three container trucks daily.
Tom Bellemare has a foam concrete patented. The product is used for special culvert grout, and is ordered by the Quebec Department of Transportation.
The contribution of Thomas Bellemare ltée to the region is recognized by changing the name of Des Récollets industrial park in Trois-Rivières to Thomas Bellemare industrial park.
Purchase of Béton Maskimo assets in Trois-Rivières and Bécancour.
Groupe Bellemare is nominated at the Radisson Gala in the Business services company category bestowed by the Trois-Rivières Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
2007 – 2008
Company expansion continues with the acquisition of Transport SRS and Transport Maltais, thus enabling service throughout the entire province of Québec.
The concrete plant at Louiseville is ravaged by flames, a sad event that the company’s people face with courage and determination.
Death of Gilles Bellemare, at 73 years of age, one of the founders to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude.
The concrete plant in Louiseville is rebuilt and renamed Béton Bellemare. A major step that demonstrate the perseverance of its leaders.
During the soirée des sommets Desjardins, Groupe Bellemare wins awards for Continuity, Company of the year and Civic builder. A success story.
The Company provides a very innovative workplace for its employees by grouping activities at a single service centre. And to remain a leader within its scope of activities, Groupe Bellemare also develops HR attraction, retention and loyalty programs which are essential elements for continued Company growth and success.
Consolidation and strengthening of regional activities by bringing together the various administrative, operational and fleet-maintenance activities in one location through the purchase of the Manac plant and facilities at Trois-Rivières.
Investment of $10 million through the building of the new headquarters. Relocation of different divisions on the Boulevard industriel in Trois-Rivières, Québec. With more or less 500 employees, Groupe Bellemare continues to grow in this new building.
A new sand-cement plant is built. An investment of $1.5 million. This new plant allows packaging of more than 4 million bags annually.
The company also acquires two PUGMILL rapidmix 400 mobile plants as well as a suitable paver, to manufacture ultra-resistant and economical roller-compacted concrete pavement.
Noting a higher demand for recycled glass, Groupe Bellemare proceeds with the building of a new recycled-glass transformation plant.
A 10,800 sq. ft. mega-dome is constructed at the headquarters on boulevard Industriel to store abrasives and mineral products. This addition to existing facilities reflects the success of the division.
Jean-Luc Bellemare, Co-president of Groupe Bellemare, is nominated male Person of the Year at the 33rd Radisson Gala of the Trois-Rivières Chamber of Commerce and Industry.