Passion, obsession… it’s our lives
Our family has been in the sporting goods market for 35 years. From dealer to distributor to agent, our broad experience of retail and distribution combined with our passion is what makes our business successful!
Michel Gravel opened his first store in Thetford-Mines, Quebec, Canada. Back then he was a Coca-Cola merchandizer fighting against the Pepsi “new generation”. He had already mastered the art of sales, pushing for shelf space, networking or buddy building as he called it and his overall stellar performance drove him to the top, the top allowed due to internal bureaucracies… Frustrated, Michel spent his free time at the local bike shop that had a small hunting and fishing department joined to it, trading his time for guns.
One day, his wife (Maggie) challenged him to open his own store. She then told him about the "little nest egg" she had saved and with the help of 2 other partners, the boutique Chasse et Pêche de Thetford was born.
The success was instantaneous, despite the troubled economy and the local Asbestos crisis happening then in the region. The store was very specialized in just about any niche and offered so many services to the outdoor enthusiast, that it is surprising that this recipe of success is still hard to find today.
The store had 10,000 sqft. of floor space decorated with stuffed animals, kind of like a small scale Cabela's store. There were gunsmith services, indoor pistol and bow ranges, an outdoor bow range, a lake for trout fishing and fly fishing lessons. Mr Gravel was very implicated in the community, selling dreams, services included... He always believed in selling his product knowledge and services, not prices.
Michel opened a second store in Montreal with the Miron brothers. The Miron family had just sold their cement plant and they thought it would be cool to have a store just like Michel had in Thetford-Mines. The efforts put forth to maximize the customers purchasing experience were endless, not to this date do we see such efforts made to become perfect... Maybe too perfect! The new store had the best staff, the most professional salespeople (63), finally a perfect store for almost every outdoorsman!
Every morning from 8:30am - 9:30am: there were product seminars, on weekends there were sales courses to help better service customers, free hunting & fishing trips were also common practice including equipment given away as “testers”.
The store had a department for just about every niche market; there was something for everyone in that store. The store even had a library with a fireplace, gun collections, clothing, gifts, maps, a shooting range and fishing lake and not to mention, 10 permanent gunsmiths. Everything was perfect; however, it became too big too fast. Our time in the Big City was brief; we pushed ourselves to the limit then we left with sadness, although the achievement was great; the personal growth enormous it was now time to move on…
Michel & Gaston Gravel opened a third store and also dealt with the distribution side of the business: Le Pavillon Chasse et Pêche de Chicoutimi.
The Pavillon was sold to Sumner Sport to then become the largest hunting / fishing distributor in Canada. At last, there were finances and resources available to accommodate the fast pace of the Gravel brothers.
Within three years, they grew the business to the top, again. They were meeting all the criteria’s to make a successful impact on Montreal’s stock exchange.
After a short honeymoon at the top, the fame shifted. Again my dad felt betrayed and decides to move on to finally master our own destiny. In 1989 the Gravel Agency Inc. was born.
Michel & Gaston started a new venture in sales representation.
Gaston went to Europe to take on a new challenge with Remington.
Martin joined the team full time after completing his marketing degree.
A new building has been acquired for showroom and warehouse capacity.
Martin became the sole owner of the company. The “LE division” is created this same year.
Homage to a remarkable human being
It is with great sadness that we learned the death of the Gravel Agency Inc. founder Mr Michel Gravel. With his charisma, his knowledge and his ease to communicate, he knew how to attract and represent companies of prestige in Canada. During his career, this leader surpassed regional and international challenges. His nickname was Mr Remington.
Michel built a place in the heart of hunters and fishermen of Quebec by being active with his desires. He was known for his broadcasts of chronicles and by managing and being involved in numerous rifle shooting and fly fishing schools.
His implications and teachings of his love for the outdoors made him a memorable man. His dedication for the industry leaves, in inheritance, an inspirational model for all sportsmen who have the river that flows in their veins and the forest that lives in their thoughts.
To see some of his work, visit old.lecamp.tv/