Québec’s Furniture Manufacturer, Dutailier Set to Close

Dutailier, Saint-Pie, Québec’s contemporary furniture company, has announced its permanent closure. The family-owned, solid wood furniture manufacturer’s closure is set to occur this summer as a result of the tight labour market and the company’s inability to utilize new technology and automation. 

Undoubtedly, the closure has impacted the Saint-Pie community as a whole and left its residents shocked, especially the city’s mayor, Mario St-Pierre. As St-Pierre discussed the company’s cessation, he said, “I did not expect this closure. Even if in the field of furniture, there are ups and downs, I still had confidence that someone from the industry was going to take over the reins of Dutailier.” The furniture business retained several employees for decades and its effect on the community is set to be immense.

Closure Confirmed for July 2023

David Fontaine, president of Dutailier, announced the closure of the company will be on July 7, 2023. “This was not an easy decision to make,” he said. “We were hoping someone would give Dutailier a second life but that’s not going to happen.” The company did initiate a study to determine exactly what needed to be improved on the manufacturing side and it was confirmed that their products did not work well with automation, advanced technology, and robotics. As the products, especially Dutailier’s glider rocket, are made from solid wood, they cannot be shaped and bent which impacts efficiency in production. In addition, the company’s target audience- young families- are no longer buying premium products due to inflation.

Several Dutailier employees had been with the company for more than 20 years, which makes the cease in production even more difficult. However, St-Pierre explained how this could operate as a fresh start for the workers. He noted, “The only upside is that several companies are looking for workers. Maybe that’s the good side of the story.” Throughout the upcoming weeks, Dutailier’s 105 employees will be working to fill ongoing orders and prepare for the plant’s closure. As Dutailier arranges for the close, Fontaine said that he intends to sell off the machinery and equipment and determine what the company will do with the 136,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. 

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