(Quebec) For 36 years, Vertdure has been providing lawn care in virtually all regions of Quebec through a network of 24 franchises that it has established over the years. Its president and owner, Philippe Tremblay, has undertaken to diversify the group’s activities by embarking on hydro-seeding and plans to open eight new branches in Ontario next year, before tackling the American market.
The least we can say is that Philippe Tremblay knows how to keep busy. When we met, he had just arrived from Chicago, where he had taken part in the festivities surrounding the All-Star game of the Frontier League, an independent professional baseball league, partner of the major leagues.
“It’s because I own the Capitales de Québec, and we’re the ones who are going to host the All-Star game next year. My father bought the club which was in financial difficulty about ten years ago. We also own 50% of Les Aigles de Trois-Rivières. We are actively involved in sports in Quebec,” explains Philippe Tremblay, 33, to me.
The young entrepreneur bought the Vertdure Group in 2019 when his father decided to retire. Philippe Tremblay was already the owner of Location Beauport, a tool rental business he bought when he was 19 years old.
The entrepreneur began to take an interest in the family business by buying the Vertdure franchise in Bois-Francs in 2016. On October 31, 2019, he completed the buyout of the company from his father, Jean Tremblay.
“We did a business transaction and my dad got out of the business completely in 2019. We negotiated it properly, he didn’t give me a freebie, I bought at market value,” says Philippe Tremblay.
Vertdure performs lawn maintenance through its network of 24 branches, each with between 12 and 25 trucks. The company employs 1,200 people, has more than 120,000 customers, including 30,000 in its V Extermination division, which specializes in responsible pest management, and has a turnover of 40 million.
“We’ve been making our own fertilizers for 15 years. We have an agronomist who only does research and development. In the mid-2000s, when pesticide spraying was banned, my father liquidated his fleet of 150 vehicles. Since that time, we have been using natural pellets, which we developed with Laval University, ”underlines the entrepreneur.
Two years ago, Vertdure diversified its activities by embarking on hydro-seeding, developing its own recipe made of mulch, seeds, fertilizer and water which makes it possible to quickly green areas bare of lawn. .
“We are replacing the use of peat, which is much more expensive and more complicated to install. Our teams arrive with a specially designed trailer and spray the area to be seeded.
The entrepreneur has implemented this new technology in four of its branches and plans to expand its franchising offer to some twenty others over the next few years.
At the same time, Vertdure will begin opening eight new branches in Ontario in 2024, a market that its president has been eyeing for some time.
“In Quebec, we have filled up. We have 30% of the market and we are five times bigger than our nearest competitor. In Ontario, there is room for a new player,” explains Philippe Tremblay.
If the CEO of the Vertdure Group did not try his luck earlier, it was because he had been busy since 2019 digesting the acquisition and putting his strategy in place. In four years, he bought five franchises that have become company stores, in addition to the one he already owns in Victoriaville, and there was COVID-19.
“I had franchisees who were reaching retirement age, I bought them out and we went into development mode to get the full potential of these territories,” he says.
This breakthrough outside Quebec will be a first step before undertaking an upcoming establishment in the United States. Philippe Tremblay is targeting the major markets of New York, Boston and Chicago, where he plans to establish the Eagleyard brand.
It must be said that the entrepreneur knows the American market well since in 2012 he developed a network of franchises for Lake and Wetland Management, a company specializing in the management of lakes.
“I invested with my dad in this Florida business. We went from a single office to a network of 15 branches across the country. I was the owner of 10 of these branches. I spent three weeks a month in Florida. We sold everything in 2016,” says Philippe Tremblay.
At 33, the entrepreneur says he has a firm desire to continue the development of Groupe Vertdure (and Location Beauport) and to take it much further than it is today.
A 33-year-old active entrepreneur, he has been president and owner of Groupe Vertdure since 2019, a company founded in 1987 by Jean Tremblay, which now has 24 branches, 1,200 employees and 120,000 customers.
Owner of Location Beauport, which has five branches and a distribution center in the Quebec region.
Owner of the Capitales de Québec, baseball team member of the Frontier League, and 50% owner of the Aigles de Trois-Rivières, also of the Frontier League.