With a brand-new $12-million building and an upcoming acquisition, Hearst-based Pepco is poised to further grow its share of the market as the only family-owned fuels and lubricants company operating throughout eastern Canada.
After years of expansion, and with various locations throughout town, it was time to streamline the operations, said CEO Luc Pepin, who runs the company with his brother, Denis.
"We needed space to accommodate our team, and we were renting a repair shop, and then we were renting office space and a bulk plant, a fuel terminal from Esso, so we thought wed put everything together on the same site," he said. "So that's why we built."
It's a fitting milestone for the company, which is celebrating its 30th year of operation in 2016. The company distributes Esso fuels and Mobil lubricants, and provides industrial supplies, bearing and power transmission components, and heating and cooling services.
Its supply division distributes janitorial supplies and equipment, and safety, automotive, industrial, and spill cleanup supplies. Pepin said it's part of Pepco's business strategy to be a one-stop shop for customers as companies look to consolidate their purchasing habits.
"With the fuel business, we already represent, depending on the industry, 25 to 40 per cent of their buys, so by adding lubricants and industrial supplies and then the bearing and power transmission lines, it enables us to have a complete offer," Pepin said.
"So we can go into a sawmill or a mine and offer them everything they need. We're already in their supplier list, so it's easy to add lines."
The new facility comprises 5,000 square feet of office space, 4,000 square feet of warehouse space, and a two-bay repair shop, all under one roof. In addition to its Hearst headquarters, the company established a branch location in Montreal last year, and also acquired United Supply, based in Timmins, in 2015.
Despite its continued growth, however, Pepin said the family-owned company has no plans to relocate its headquarters from Northern Ontario.
"I find, for me, the quality of life up North is a lot better than in an urban area," he said. "So I prefer to travel for work and live up North. That's just a preference of mine."
Integrated into the new facility are some unique features, such as a rail siding, which allows the company to efficiently move product around the country, and geothermal heating, which Pepin described as a cheaper, more eco-friendly heating...