Paul-Émile Bonneville spent most of the 1950s working in the asbestos mines in the small Quebec town of Thetford Mines. Then, in 1961, with the help and support of his six grown children, he launched his own company specializing in the sale and servicing of mobile homes. In no time, Paul-Émile and his team became Canada's top sellers of Bendix homes. "My father wanted to make home ownership a possibility for everyone – not just the wealthy classes," says André Bonneville.
In 1977, frustrated with the quality of the homes on the market and unacceptable long delivery time, Paul-Émile decided to go into the manufacturing business and opened his own modular construction plant. Unbeknownst to his children, who were already working seven days a week, he purchased a facility in Beloeil, on the south shore of Montreal. He told them, "We're going to build our own houses from now on." Thus marked the birth of Bonneville's factory-built homes. André Bonneville was appointed President of Bonneville Homes when it was founded and immediately set his sights on making the family name known throughout Quebec. He took charge of the marketing, sales and administration aspects of the business. Under his leadership, sales offices were opened in all the key cities throughout the province. Bonneville Homes began to grow in leaps and bounds.
Normand Bonneville became Senior Vice-President, Operations, playing a highly influential role on the production end. He was responsible for ensuring the newly acquired plant ran smoothly and for improving quality standards. Under his guidance, Bonneville Homes continually developed new in-factory construction technologies and thus maintained its competitive edge over its rivals.
Between 1977 and 1994, the company's expansion really took off, with the Bonneville family closely involved in all of the facets of the operation. Paul-Émile's daughters and their husbands helped oversee the Quebec-wide network of sales offices. Other plants were built throughout the province and various competitors bought out.
In 1988, after over a quarter-century of building his legacy, PaulÉmile passed away, leaving to his children a strong, financially stable company with an ever-growing reputation for excellence. Since 1977, manufacturing and design techniques have advanced dramatically. In 1995–1996, with the third generation of the Bonneville family at the reins, the company shifted focus and introduced an innovative new construction process known as the Bonneville R-3000 building system. This enabled Bonneville to broaden its appeal and reach out to an upscale clientele. In 1998, a new marketing thrust emerged, driven in part by the production and airing of a successful television infomercial. As a result, the public became more aware and appreciative of the reliability, versatility and high quality of Bonneville products. Looking to the future, the current management team has also expanded into the commercial building market. The first step in this adventure was taken in 1999, with the construction of a three-storey, 118-unit retirement home in the Boston area.
The third generation consists of Dany Bonneville, Co-President, Sales, Marketing and Administration; Eric Bonneville, Co-President, Special Projects, New Model Development and After-Sales Service; and Delivery department; and Marie-Josée Bonneville and Bianca Bonneville, both Administrative Directors. Their challenge is to ensure the fourth-generation family-run company remains at the vanguard of the industry by adopting effective new technologies while staying faithful to the core values that have guided Bonneville Homes from day one: treating customers with respect and ensuring they are 100% satisfied.