Morrison Lamothe is a third generation independent Canadian food
and beverage processor. It began in 1933 supplying fresh bread. By
the 1960s, it grew into the largest bakery in Ottawa. Since then,
the company diversified into frozen food manufacturing, and today
it produces frozen pies and pastries for large food brands.
Morrison Lamothe expanded into the coffee business in 2007 by
acquiring Club Coffee (www.clubcoffee.ca) from Nestlé.
Within seven years, Club Coffee has grown into the largest roaster,
contract manufacturer and distributor of packaged coffees through
partnerships with Canada's largest coffee retailers.
John Morrison Pigott, President and CEO of Morrison Lamothe,
started working in the family business in 1971 when he was a
student. Pigott shares how the company's family values and its
excellent customer service are the core strengths and
differentiators of this successful business.
FULLER LANDAU: To what does Morrison Lamothe credit its
longevity? JOHN PIGOTT: We've changed our
business and products over time, but we never change our values.
Our customer relationships are handshakes. It's about our word,
and doing the right thing; a philosophy that is actually a point of
difference in today's environment.
My grandfather said in 1976: "Success depends on vision, on
meticulous attention to detail and how well you look after your
employees and customers." We've had a relationship with
our core coffee customer since 1938, and have a 32-year
relationship with another large customer. We have a 47-year
employee and many others with long tenure. It is important to do
the right things for your employees and customers. It's what my
grandfather said: "Pass a piece of bread to someone and it
will always come back to you buttered."
FULLER LANDAU: You manufacture and distribute packaged
coffee products for many large retailers. How do you approach these
partnerships? JOHN PIGOTT: A successful partnership
requires three critical things:
You must have a common goal with your partner.
It must be a win-win situation, otherwise it becomes a slippery
You must build trust, and that comes from keeping your
FULLER LANDAU: How do you stay profitable and maintain
company values in a competitive industry? JOHN PIGOTT: We innovate, we partner and
we deliver with passion. "We" is the most common word. If
someone asks what has changed over the three generations at
Morrison Lamothe or Club Coffee, I say our products have changed,
however, our values have not changed.
We ventured from a bakery into the frozen food business years
ago. Our business model might vary, but taking good care of our
customers has been a key focus since the 1930s. We are still an old
fashioned, principle-based business. It's a common sense
business and it's not fancy... You have to deliver on what you
say and you have to do it with passion.
FULLER LANDAU: What do you credit your recent success
with Club Coffee? JOHN PIGOTT: With Club Coffee, we found a
market opportunity and jumped on it. We use the Gretzky expression
a lot ("Skate where the puck is going, not where it's
been"). We're always looking to "do a Gretzky"
like what we did in single serve.
We could see the market for single serve coffee was growing.
Three years ago, it was just 5% of coffee consumed at home; today
it's over 40%. We started with one production machine and today
we have several machines running at capacity.
FULLER LANDAU: How much does process play a role in the
success of your companies? JOHN PIGOTT: We are more process driven
than it may appear. The majority of our Directors, Vice-Presidents
and C-level executives have worked in Fortune 100 companies and
they have introduced processes in our companies.
But, it's possible for us to change direction overnight. For
example, back in 2007 we had no intention of entering into the
coffee business, and yet we purchased Club Coffee and we were in
the business just 180 days later. We evaluate opportunities and
determine if they are good investments.
FULLER LANDAU: If someone approached you and said they
were considering launching a business in the food and beverage
industry, what would you tell them? JOHN PIGOTT: I would tell them to go for
it, because if you don't, then you're going to miss every
shot you don't go for. I think that's another Gretzky
quote. At some point, you can't sit at your desk anymore. You
have to chase it. Don't analyze it to death.
Hire good people too. My grandfather said: "There are two
ways to manage people: you can climb all over them, or hire good
people that will push you over the top." I like the latter
Get really good people to work with you, focus on the customer,
keep the food safe and never give up.
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Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions or GST.
Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan Act and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions.
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