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Landriault wants to offer something different PDF Print E-mail
Written by HGO Staff   
WATERDOWN, Ontario - Retailers are always seeking something different. To capture on that need industry veteran Richard Landriault has founded a new agency that offers Canadian furniture stores a unique product line-up covering four major categories: upholstery, dining room, bedroom and mattresses.

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Richard Landriault.
When Landriault launched his firm - Landriault & Associates - some 14 months ago, his goal was simple: to focus on mid-range to high-end product that wasn't currently available in the Canadian market. "I don't want to compete with Asia," he said. "Thirdly, I wanted to work with companies that made a quality product, backed with great service and on-time delivery. I believe I've earned a good reputation over the course of my career and I'm not prepared to put it in jeopardy."

Before launching his agency, Landriault spent 18 months as president of casual dining specialist Dinec, which had just be acquired by what is now the BDM + Furniture, after spending the previous 26 years in the appliance industry, mostly in a series of progressively important sales management roles with GE. But, back in the early 1980s, Landriault spent eight years in the finance industry.

The agency's first client was Saloom Furniture, the New Hampshire-based mid-range to high-end casual dining specialist Landriault first knew as a competitor. "I've always been impressed with them because of their reputation. Their U.S. dealers always spoke so highly of them because of their quality, particularly when it comes to their finishes," Landriault said, adding that despite any interest in expanding northward, they had never established a presence in Canada.

Saloom's offerings are somewhat different from those brought to market by other North American suppliers. "Saloom uses solid maple and cherry which differs from Canadian producers who use mostly birch," Landriault said. "Plus, they do offer a wide range of different distress levels, using a unique and exclusive process."

The company is also known for their mixed media tops, which use a variety of materials - such as granite.

Although their specialty is high-end leather upholstery, Landriault believes Incanto Group shares many of Saloom's strengths including their attitude, their desire for growth, and their commitment to style and quality. "Incanto's sofas and chairs are 100 per cent made in Italy and is probably the best leather upholstery line offered in North America today," he enthuses.

To address the lower price points, Incanto recently introduced a sister brand, Sofitalia, which is manufactured in a brand new factory in Shanghai, while continuing to use 100 per cent Italian leather and the same construction techniques. "I am very impressed by this young company, we have opened several key accounts in the greater Toronto and Montreal," Landriault said.

To cover bedroom, Landriault entered into an alliance with another New Hampshire-based manufacturer, which produces under the Brown Street Furniture and Vermont Tubbs labels. The same firm also owns Mystic Valley Traders, a producer of mid-range to high-end linens and comforters.

"Since I had the beds, the linens and the comforters, all I've been missing was a mattress line," Landriault said. However, the recent addition of Magniflex to his stable has solved that problem.

An Italian line of memory foam mattress, Magniflex will be introduced to Canadian retailers for the first time at this weekend's Canadian Home Furnishings Market, (Booth 6235 in Hall 6 of the International Centre).

(Click here to read HGO's original report on Magniflex's entry into the Canadian market.)

"I've been extremely impressed by Marco Magni, the owner of Magniflex and his team," he said. "Not only because they have been in the mattress business for over 50 years, or that they sell in 45 different countries and they manufacture 10,000 mattresses per day but also because of their ethic and philosophy."

Landriault believes Magniflex mattresses may be among the most environmentally friendly currently being manufactured. "They really are eco-green," he says.

Landriault's wife, Jacinthe Lejeune, has joined the firm after spending 33 years at GE Appliances in a number of marketing, sales and merchandising roles. The new agency also has six representatives working across the country.

"Our business is just over a year old and we are satisfied with our quick progress," Landriault said. "We hope that our experience in the peoples business along with our passion will help us grow our business."

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