The Leclerc Group has always invested in the new and innovative. New products to please consumers and new equipment to produce in greater quantities and, more importantly, with greater quality. Automating our facilities allows for a better distribution of effort and lets us focus on what’s most important: making the world’s best cookies and snacks! When we add a new bar or cookie to our product line, we also add an automated solution to improve our employee’s work lives. We even have custom machines developed as needed. At Leclerc, nothing is too complicated. There’s a technology solution out there somewhere—it’s just a matter of finding it. Improving our productivity is important, but improving the health and safety of our employees is even more so. That’s happiness in the making.
"At the rate at which technologies evolve here, one must be ready to learn and step out of one's comfort zone. And the novelty, it does not scare me. I held more than five different positions in 13 years: first as an operator until I became a specialist in continuous improvement. It's motivating to be able to learn in an environment that is at the cutting edge of technology."
- Jennifer, Continuous Improvement Coordinator
The drive to do things right can take you far. When you are quality-driven, word gets out, which is why Leclerc’s reputation for quality has spread to four continents. The Leclerc brand has been known, loved, and manufactured in Ontario (the Hawkesbury plant) since 1994 and the United States (the Pennsylvania plant) since 2002. Then three new plants were opened—two in Tennessee and one in Arizona. An eighth plant outside Quebec will soon open its doors in Cornwall, Ontario. But that’s not all! The Leclerc Group makes delicious private label products that are exported to three continents in countries as far away as Japan, Australia, and South Africa.
But really, what is our secret recipe? The desire to always be better—in everything we do. For us, this isn’t a job. It’s a passion. You can see it in our leaders, who roll up their sleeves alongside their employees. Every day, we pursue our mission of making perfect morsels of pure pleasure. There’s a reason Leclerc’s products are so delicious. It’s because everyone here puts their heart into what they do. We enjoy working together because we share the same passion and pride in always being the best.
Since the first kitchen opened behind François Leclerc’s house on Rue Arago in Quebec City in 1905, determination (and his wife Zélia’s famous jelly cookie recipe) has been the key ingredient. There’s also been a lot of hard work and a willingness to take risks. After five generations, the Leclerc family is still coming up with new recipes and processes, inspired by the same time honoured values and passion. Every setback, even the fire at the Rue Arago factory in the 1930s, has been an opportunity for the company to reinvent itself. Built by a family of forward-looking entrepreneurs, Leclerc continues to chart new territory, just as it always has.
"When I started at Leclerc 13 years ago, I had to leave the city after only one year of employment. Reluctantly, I resigned from my receptionist position. But instead of letting me go, I was offered a representative position in the area where I was moving. I was very touched. I felt that my work was appreciated and that was important to me. And here, when you want to progress, we will help you."
- Marie-Josée, Accounts Payable Agent
Now under the leadership of the fifth generation of the Leclerc family—Jean-Sébastien and his father, company president Denis Leclerc—the company continues to innovate and develop new markets, just as it has in the past. That means rolling up their sleeves every day, visiting the plants and talking to the staff. “You have to keep your finger on the pulse if you want to have employees who put their heart into their work,” says Denis Leclerc. “Respecting your employees starts with knowing their names and showing interest in what they do. That’s the foundation of teamwork.” Leclerc management is accessible. Their offices are right next to the production lines and they have an open door policy. Leclerc is a company built on trust—not just trust in our product, but trust in our people. In the years to come, the Leclerc Group plans to develop the largest distribution center in North America. “And that’s not something that can just happen on its own,” says Jean Sébastien Leclerc. “We want to improve the lives of our people by making their workstations more ergonomic.” Development also means automating certain tasks. “It’s the best way to increase efficiency while maintaining our high quality standards.” Leadership understands that their employees are counting on them. “We’re not just making cookies; we’re creating jobs so our employees can feed their families,” says Denis Leclerc. “Keeping a flagship Québec company alive is not enough; we want to go even further to create value for future generations of Leclerc employees.”
Committed leaders who care and a respected team: that’s the Leclerc family. Without the input and dedication of our employees, we would not be what we are today: a company five generations strong making the world’s best cookies. And we understand that great ideas sometimes come from surprising places. Over the years, many innovations and new recipes have been inspired by Leclerc employees. Everyone here contributes and takes pride in being part of something bigger. At Leclerc, we believe you can never have too many cooks in the kitchen.
"At the Montgomery facility, we once wondered how we could increase our packaging capacity, without spending lots of money by mandating an engineering firm. My colleagues and I had the idea to optimize a machine that we no longer used. The result was spectacular: we doubled our bagging capacity from 160 bags to 320 bags per minute. We were very proud!"
- Gilbert, Technical Improvement Project Manager
Great stories are made up of smaller stories: the ones being written every day by the enthusiastic people who drive our discoveries and accomplishments and share their experiences with us. Read our articles for more real stories from Leclerc.
We are lucky to count on true people. That's why we enjoy gathering, sharing our joys and not taking ourselves too seriously.