Celebrating 60 years in business, Bonneville Windows and Doors has produced top-of-the-line residential portals with architectural appeal. As Barbara Kram reports, the company, part of Groupe Bocenor, is expanding its reach from its headquarters and factories in Quebec, down the East coast of the U.S. and beyond.
Bonneville Windows and Doors has been crafting quality wood, PVC, and aluminum clad windows and doors in Quebec since 1946 when the company was founded by Henri Bonneville who was later joined in the business by his four sons. The firm was initially incorporated as Henri Bonneville & Fils Inc. in 1963; the sons acquired the business outright in 1967. Acquisition, integration and expansion have been key to the company’s development over the decades. Most significant was the purchase of building supply stores Matériaux Décoren Inc. and Matériaux St-Isidore Inc., as well as Fenebec Inc. and Les Industries Unik Ltée, manufacturers of aluminum windows and doors.
In 1979, the company reorganized with a distribution strategy that persists today as a public company whose shares are traded on the Montreal Stock Exchange under Bocenor (GBO). Over time it has become the largest window manufacturer in Québec and the second largest in Canada.
“Bonneville has always been an industry leader in Quebec, Ontario,” explains Robert Couillard, marketing manager. “In the early 1990s we expanded into the U.S. and, by offering customers a high-end product at a reasonable price, we have steadily gained market share. As our reputation grows, we are seeing more demand further down the East Coast and are adding sales representation to cover New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. Our plans are to grow right down the coast and expand westward from there.”
Its history of successes will no doubt bolster the company’s future efforts. For instance, in 1992 Groupe Bocenor Inc. changed its global strategy to focus operations in three of its divisions: Bonneville Windows and Doors, Fenebec, and Matériaux St-Isidore. The subsidiary Bonneville International, Inc. was created in 1994 to specialize in PVC products. The following year, Bonneville Windows and Doors became ISO: 9002 certified, an important milestone in the quality-oriented company.
The 50th anniversary in 1996 saw the arrival of a new partner, the investment firm Quebec Solidarity Fund, which became a major shareholder of Groupe Bocenor. Several additional acquisitions took place in 1999 including Fenêtres Montmagny (Polar), Solarco, and Silica Industries. Groupe Bocenor also acquired all the shares of the assets of Multiver Ltd. an insulated glass manufacturer. Most recently, Bonneville Windows and Doors vertically integrated Multiver and Bonneville Windows and Doors activities. “Growth is now coming organically. Our belief is that slow and steady growth is the way to go,” Couillard says. We need to deliver a quality product on time that doesn’t outgrow our capacity.”
Open for Business
A look at the company’s product offerings is an architect’s and homeowner’s delight. Crafted in the authentic warmth and comfort of wood, with durable and cost-efficient PVC, Bonneville products are building a reputation in the Energy-Star community.
Wood casement windows are available in white pine or red cedar. Features include retractable handles, double-arm operator with E-Gard® coating, and dry glazing. Classic awning windows feature all the casement window’s great qualities while adding a special style to the look of a home. An awning’s special bottom-out opening system allows fresh breezes even on rainy days. Another style, double hung windows, lends a warm, old-fashioned look to modern and renovated homes. Beautiful eastern white pine sashes, 3/4-inch-thick are coupled with a 1-inch-thick frame to make a sturdy, reliable and energy efficient unit. Features include a tilt-assistance device incorporated into the sash lock.
Sliding windows in white pine are classic and inexpensive with many advantages. The sashes slide smoothly on ball bearings and can be removed for cleaning. Functional and efficient, this window is available in custom sizes if desired.
The company even offers homeowners and contractors a sash replacement kit so they can replace inefficient double-hung sashes while conserving existing woodwork. Each kit comes with simple, do-it-yourself instructions and includes two wood sashes, two jamb liners (tracking) and balance system (tackle), block (wood molding), and tracking hardware.
On the other end of the scale are sizable bay and bow windows that add light and space to interiors while giving a luxurious look to the exterior a home. With their casement or hung openings, bay and bow windows adapt to the particular style of each home. Designs are available in 30° and 45° projection angles (custom angles are also available), and a choice of head and seat finish; crezon plywood, white laminated, pine or cedar.
Special architectural windows are available in unusual designs such as ovals or pentagons. These attention-getting elements come in many standard or non-standard shapes to really add memorable curb appeal. A variety of interior moldings complete the look.
Inviting patio doors in white pine and cedar include the B-50 series patio door with a wood finish. The B-50 gold series offers an eight-inch kick plate that gives it a French door look. Built to last, Bonneville patio doors offer comfort and security for many years of service. True French doors are also available from Bonneville. Their moveable astragal allows a full opening to bring in furniture or large objects. Thanks to optional moldings and grilles, homeowners and architects can create any style they can envision. Features include multi-point lock and adjustable ball bearing hinges.
All windows include multiple weather strips and allow for options such as choice of wood or aluminum cladding, choices of head and seat finishes, interior moldings and grilles, all in a variety of colors.
A similarly extensive product line is made with sleek, modern and durable PVC in casement windows, awning, hung, slider, bay and bow, and architectural windows; and patio doors. The no-maintenance design delivers painless installation, energy-conserving multiple weather strips, a wide choice of exterior moldings and a great range of exterior and interior accessories. An example of design innovation is the company’s new PVC double hung window with options for steel reinforcement.
“The industry trend is towards more PVC and Bonneville’s position as the leader in high-end PVC puts us in an excellent market niche,” Couillard says. “We pioneered the high-end PVC and aluminum hybrid window with options like flat casing, extension jambs, and sloped sills.” He notes that many major ski resorts in the northeast use Bonneville products. “Our extensive history in dealing with the cold Canadian climate gives Bonneville a leg up on the competition with all of our products being extremely energy efficient.” The company’s U- and R-values compare favorably with all of the U.S. industry leaders and its products are NFRC and U.S. Energy Star approved. Cutting-edge improvements include thick PVC wall chambers in frames and sashes.
The company operates four manufacturing facilities, all in Quebec: The St. Raphael site is a wood processing plant of 22,000 square feet. St. Joseph is the company’s PVC plant with 60,000 square feet and the door factory in Levis adds 65,000 square feet of production. The largest operation of all is the Ste. Marie wood plant and main office totaling 175,000 square feet. Each plant has R&D, manufacturing, and after-sale customer service located right in the facility. The company also runs a U.S. sales office in Massachusetts that includes a showroom and training facilities.
Continuous investment in capital improvement takes place at all facilities. “Each year the plants buy different new machinery such as CNC, cutting tables, or new procedures of production to maximize quality and efficiency,” Couillard adds. “With Bonneville’s new lean manufacturing processes our production capabilities have been greatly increased without adding any square footage to our existing production.”
An honest value in great windows and doors remains the company’s driving force in delivering top quality products to the marketplace. “We believe that giving the customer a high-end window without a high-end price is what will move our business forward in the future.” We agree.