Taking the forestry equipment business to new heights with Novafor Equipment & National Bank

21 November 2022 by National Bank
Photo of a National Bank advisor and their client speaking in a health and safety equipment store

Not all entrepreneur days are the same. Every day is different, filled with new challenges to tackle. Our "A Day in the Life of an Entrepreneur" series allowed our advisors to step into the day-to-day of their clients and fully experience their routine. Novafor Equipment had a banner year in 2022, greatly benefiting from the judicious advice of its account manager at the National Bank. 

Meet Novafor Equipment

Founded by co-owners Sophie Robitaille and Marc Lyrette in 2001, the multidisciplinary team of wholesalers and distributors offer a range of forestry, arborist and horticultural products for workers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

From two retail stores in Blainville and Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, plus an online store that ships nationwide across Canada, Novafor provides more than 20 years of rigor and expertise to residential, institutional, corporate, and government clients who are looking for forestry, height worker or arborist material, and specialized equipment. 

Especially since the company leaned into its equipment distribution division in 2017, Sophie Robitaille, Marc Lyrette and Eric Therrien, their new partner, have seen massive, year-over-year growth, and increased its annual revenue tenfold for the past five years. 

Managing growth

"The current challenge is really managing our growth,” explained Robitaille. While the swift increase in business was welcome, it brought the entrepreneurs a host of new hurdles and complexities to solve for and, more recently, necessitated the expansion of their physical footprint. 

Throughout this period of major commercial decisions, the entrepreneurs relied on the help and counsel of a trusted ally, Angelo Liberatore, their account director at the National Bank.

Understanding the many challenges of running their SME, Liberatore supported Novafor Equipment with his advice and expertise in coping with exponential growth, guiding them through the acquisition of their newest building to increase warehouse merchandising space. 

“The bank came to the rescue,” Sophie Robitaille said. “Together, we solved a problem by buying a new condo to stock even more supplies. And, today, we are able to meet our needs with the new square feet.”

She said she appreciates how her capable account manager truly understands the realities and struggles in the life of an entrepreneur — the many ups and downs, sacrifice, and various roles and duties — and thankful he provided a helping hand in times of need. 

She was especially impressed by how well Angelo Liberatore handled the challenging day-to-day tasks over the past few years, as banks and small businesses alike navigated recent global market unpredictability.

Beyond the numbers

As Novafor Equipment faced disruptions in their supply chain, the SME was forced to adapt to new realities. And again, relying on solid advice and business experience from her financial institution helped see Novafor Equipment through. 

For Sophie, the most important element in this partnership is, ultimately, their trusted, personal relationship. Working in a business that is often strictly driven by numbers, she said, she feels like her “business hat” can be removed with Angelo and they can talk to each other “human-to-human.”  

It’s a sentiment that the account director shares: “They have created a really beautiful family here at Novafor Equipment,” said Liberatore, “and I am happy to be part of this family.” 

Working 50 to 100-hour weeks, entrepreneurs need to be incredibly motivated from sun up to lights out. The day-to-day is not just about the company but also finding time to plan, reflect, and make decisions. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs love what they do and are fueled by their passion. And we’re here for it. For more information on how to grow a good business idea, discover our tailored solutions for entrepreneurs.

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