On the eve of Céragrès’ 30th anniversary, we sat down with founder and president, Guy Gervais, at the company’s Laval boutique workspace. Upon entering, we were charmed by the refined 9,000 square-foot design featuring the most exclusive products and highest quality materials. In addition to the inspiring interior, the store offers friendly staff and impeccable service. In short, it’s like coming home again.
Visibly very proud of his boutique workspace, Mr. Gervais was full of praise for all the people who helped develop a design that, in his eyes, represents the very essence of his vision for the company. Moreover, the final result is in perfect harmony with the man himself: authentic, elegant and welcoming. In addition to being the largest of the seven Céragrès boutique workspaces in Canada, the Laval store reflects a new way of thinking whereby the art of living is central to the design concept. In fact, Mr. Gervais and other entrepreneurs have been collaborating to create a new hub that will offer customers a completely innovative experience. Along with partners like MUST, Jardin de Ville, Bête à Pain and Prune Les Fleurs, they have come up with a concept that involves removing the physical borders between the businesses so clients may freely stroll from one space to another, enjoying an integrated experience.
As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day! For Guy Gervais, it also took time to build his business. A concept like that of the Laval boutique workspace is the result of years of experience, a lot of learning, and, above all, an enduring passion for design that forms the very DNA of Céragrès and its owner. Over the past 30 years, the company’s store design, business model and shifting clientele have been constantly evolving, presenting numerous challenges for the business owner. He acknowledges that his passion, the people around him, and the desire to bring his vision to life have always driven him forward, despite the setbacks. In retrospect, he readily admits that the moments when he had to make very difficult decisions were also the moments when he proved himself the skilled manager that he had always hoped to be, and not simply a design enthusiast.
His passion, the people around him, and the desire to bring his vision to life have always driven him forward, despite the setbacks.
Together, these two characteristics—passion and sound management—have enabled the Céragrès group to develop over the years into the respected business it is today. Along the way, Guy Gervais also demonstrated a third, very important, quality: he was forward-thinking, and diversified his clientele in a market that tends to be very consumer-oriented (B2C). Céragrès’ portfolio includes countless projects where individuals have created custom decors using the company’s exclusive materials. What is less known to the general public, however, is the company’s “Major Projects” division. Recognized as an expert in the field, Guy Gervais has made a name for himself among the most prestigious architecture firms, who call on him and his team for their unique expertise. Mr. Gervais notes that this relationship with architects is very stimulating because, “When they come to us, they have an idea, a concept in mind. Our job is to bring this idea to life while ensuring that the technical aspect does not impede their creativity.” Thanks to this expertise, Céragrès has participated in a host of large-scale initiatives. The company has, for example, worked on over 50 projects involving Olympic-size swimming pools, large-scale real estate developments like condo towers, well-known hotels, hospitals, as well as numerous ventilated ceramic cladding projects.
Céragrès has the expertise to carry out all kinds of work, whether the goal is to create a dream interior for one’s home or a ventilated façade for a building complex. It is this devoted spirit that enables a ceramic tile, a marble kitchen counter or a plumbing fixture to transcend its primary function and become part of a space that reflects who we are, while bringing us together.