A.L.P.A. Equipment LTD., headquartered in Balmoral, NB, is a forestry and construction equipment supplier and manufacturer. This local company credits its’ success in this competitive industry to their customer service and their willingness to adapt to their clients’ needs. Launched in 1976, they have grown to over 100 employees and have several offices in NB and NS.
Serge Landry, co-owner, talks about helping the business started by his father grow beyond his family’s wildest expectations and the key to their success.
Tell us about the pros and cons of being in this business?
One of the most exciting aspects of the business is the passion we bring to what we do. It’s always been about achieving results over the long-term. We’ve watched the company grow from the basement, where we started 42 years ago, to the workforce of 130 employees we have today. And being a New Brunswick-based company servicing Eastern Canada, there is a lot of pride in that.
What I’d say I like most about the business is getting compliments from our customers. There’s a real sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing you’ve helped them. And truthfully, I can’t think of anything we don’t really like. The day we stop liking what we do is the day we’ll have to get out of the business. Like anything, you’re going to have good and bad days, but loving what you do helps make the not-so-great days better.
My father always said he never went into business for himself to make money; it was having the opportunity to create a job.
Talk to us about some challenges you faced?
One of the biggest challenges we’ve had to navigate was around 2006 when a number of sawmills and papermills in the province were closing down. A lot of major companies like UPM left the province at that time in search of bigger economies, and it wasn’t until 2010 that things started to turn around.
One of the most challenging aspects of operating a business in New Brunswick has been finding the right employees for the job. It’s not necessarily a new challenge but it is one of the biggest ongoing concerns.
What is it about your work that inspires you?
As a privately-held, family company that competes against large corporations, it’s our customers that inspire us to do the best job we can. We manufacture our own purpose-built harvester in Balmoral. There aren’t a lot of companies that can make that same claim here in Eastern Canada. People tell us all the time they can’t believe this equipment is being built right here at home, but it is. We take a lot of pride in that.
Do you have any advice for others looking to start a business?
Regardless of the kind of business you’re looking at starting, you need a clear vision as well as a passion for what you do. You should be prepared to work hard. Respect your customers and your employees, and ensure you’re able to offer support to both.
As an entrepreneur, what would you say to others asking why you choose to live here and operate a business in NB?
Life in New Brunswick is simple. We benefit from a low cost of living and are surrounded by nature. We employ people in small communities that take a lot of pride in what they do.
What do you think about this initiative to encourage NBers to buy products and services made in NB?
I think it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re capable of doing anything we want here in New Brunswick. Rather than buying something on the internet that could be coming from a major city elsewhere in Canada or the U.S., or even overseas, I feel it’s important to not overlook what we might have available in our own backyard. Supporting local business should be a priority for all New Brunswickers.
I feel it’s something that’s very important. Local business needs local support. International companies like Amazon don’t support local initiatives or kids’ hockey teams like local or regional businesses do.