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New team at Huppé

 27 February 2023     Michael J. Knell 

VICTORIAVILLE, Quebec – A new ownership and senior management team has taken the reins at Huppé Furniture based here, following a recent decision by company president and chief executive officer Jean-François Nolin to sell his stake in the contemporary case goods specialist.

Nolin, who has owned and led the company since 2010, said in a statement having grown the small manufacturer’s brand awareness and sales he has come to the end of his journey in the furniture industry and wants to work on new projects.

“I have reached my goals and brought Huppé to the level I wanted it to be,” he said, adding, “I’m very proud and grateful for the work accomplished by the team, we have built a world class company with a distinctive brand. Now, I feel like devoting myself to other projects, both personal and professional!”

Jean-François Nolin (second from left) has sold his stake in contemporary furniture maker Huppé to a team consisting of Antoine Cantin, Joël Dupras and Julie St-Arnaud.The new ownership and senior management team will include Huppé’s long-time design director Joël Dupras – who has been a shareholder since 2016 – as well as Julie St-Arnaud and Antoine Cantin, formerly a commercial banking manager with the National Bank of Canada.

Dupras has more than 20 years of experience in furniture design. He began his career with the family business Visu before founding Joël Dupras Designer (JDD) in 2008. Among his clients were the Quebec-based institutional and hospitality furniture specialist Foliot and Wet Style, the bathroom furniture maker for whom he won the Best of Year (BOYA) award from Interior Design magazine in 2009 for the M collection.

He is now recognized as one of North America’s best contemporary furniture designers. He joined the Huppé team in 2011 as head of the design department and is the bridge between the development of new collections and the production.

(Nolin partners with Dupras and two others in the Sir John Brewing Co., a micro-brewery located in Lachute, Quebec.)

The move also marks St-Arnaud’s return to the company, having served as director of marketing from 2011 to 2015. Since leaving, she held several sales and marketing leadership positions across several industries. In 2018, she launched her marketing agency, allowing her to assist multiple companies with their business strategies.

Cantin has over 20 years of experience as an investment banker. Nolin believes he will be a distinct asset to the company with his extensive experience in finance and leadership.

“I chose to sell to Joël, Julie and Antoine because, in addition to complementing each other perfectly with their expertise, I know that they will continue the ‘Huppé vibe’ with our existing team as well as with our clients and partners,” Nolin said.

“They share the company's values and understand the dynamics of the market and our clientele. They are complementary and will ensure the company’s success over the years,” he continued, adding, “Moreover, Huppé will remain in Victoriaville and will continue to contribute to the economic development of the region.”

St-Arnaud and Cantin are expected to join the company at the end of February.

For the past several years, Nolin has served as member of the board of directors for the Quebec Furniture Manufacturers Association (QFMA). He told Home Goods Online he will be resigning from that volunteer position in the very near future.

“I’m really happy with the transaction,” he added. “It will be a smooth one with people who are already involved in the business. I will continue to support the business and help with the transition for a least a year or so. I’m also owner of a great microbrewery that will need my knowledge and experience over the next while.”

Founded in 1967, Huppé currently employs some 75 people at its 72,000 square foot production facility here and has a retail network of approximately 250 stores across North America. The company also shows at the High Point Market and has a showroom in 220 Elm (Space 333).

Related Story: Huppé teams with Italdivani to launch upholstery line

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This HGO article was written by:
Michael J. Knell
Michael J. Knell

Michael is the publisher and editor of Home Goods Online. A seasoned business journalist, he has researched and written about the furniture, mattress and major appliance industries in both Canada and the United States for the past three decades.

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