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Hearst Lumber Co. Ltd

Home Building Centre

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An article written in 1998 by Francis Bouchard, local paper journalist for  Le Journal Le Nord; explains the history of the Hearst Lumber Store.



Hearst Lumber:  A company almost as old as the town.

Hearst (FB) – There is a business in Hearst almost as old as the town, which has contributed to the “construction” of the community.  It’s name is synonymous with the town’s livelihood.  This is Hearst Lumber.


Unfortunately, it seems that no one from Hearst can accurately state the year of the founding of the company.  It is believed that this would be 1925, which would mean the company would be 73 this year.


The company experienced several owners during this period.  This year marks the tenth anniversary of its acquisition by the Joanis family of Hearst.  For the occasion, the owners thought to retrace the history of the company and they have organized several promotions.

The best source of information to trace the history of the company is Mr. Wilbrod Gagnon, who has been managing the company for 32 years (from 1947 to 1979) and also a shareholder.  Another good source is Claude Gagnon, the company’s oldest employee, who started for the company on April 1, 1974, which means that he has been at his job for 24 years today. 

Mr. Wilbrod Gagnon told us that Hearst Lumber would have been founded by an Anglophone, Mr. Paul. It was a “wood court”, as some people still commonly call this trade today.  The hardware will come much later.


Towards the years 1933 or 35, Mrs. Vital Brisson bought the company.  Her husband was the owner of a hardware store where the Northern store is located.


In 1947, the company was purchased by 2 brothers, Fred and Arthur Lecours.  They, who also have a sawmill, hired Mr. Wilbrod Gagnon as manager.


In 1963, Fred’s son, Clement Lecours, bought the store and Mr. Gagnon became his partner.

At the time, the company had only a warehouse with an adjoining private residence.  Fred Lecours and his sisters occupied the residence for a while.  Then the Cote family stayed there for a long time.  We also remember that the hair salon “Chez Suzanne” was located there for a long time.  Shortly after the store was purchased, a 100 foot warehouse was constructed where the current store is located.  About a year later, the warehouse was divided in 2, with half

of the front becoming a hardware store.


A few years later, around 1968, the former building George Taylor Hardware was acquired on the other side of Front street.  The building was used as a warehouse until the construction of a new warehouse in the mid 1970’s.  In 1971, the other warehouse was built, joining the existing warehouse and the old warehouse.  A lot was subsequently purchased on the south side of George street, which is still used for outdoor storage.


Between 1975 and 1978, Hearst Lumber also had a store in Longlac called “Longlac Building Material”.  Mr. Wilbrod Gagnon emphasizes that the company grew in the early 1970’s at the same time that the town was experiencing an economic boom.  About fifty houses were built every year in Hearst.  There was also the construction of residences.  “The company has expanded reasonably, according to the needs that were coming.”  says Mr. Gagnon.


Claude Gagnon points out that a very large number of people have worked for the company for different periods of time, whether during summer or for several years.  A very large number of

names were inscribed on the staircase ramp inside the old warehouse.


Since the acquisition of the company in 1988, the Joanis family has itself made changes.


At the time of the purchase, the family also bought additional land on the side of the store where an old residence was located which was later demolished.


A few years later in 1993, an expansion of the side of the store would be carried out with the construction of an enlargement for the carpet and linoleum.


To mark this 10th anniversary, Hearst Lumber will offer various promotions in the coming weeks.

Translation of the article by: Bouchard F. (1998, 01 avril) – Hearst Lumber: Une entreprise aussi vieille que la ville [Editorial]Le Nord (Hearst, Ont.); HA8


The Company Hearst Lumber joins the Banner Home

Hearst Lumber, the oldest store in the town of Hearst is revamping its affiliation with the Rona franchise.


Hearst Lumber has been in business since 1929, and will be offering products from Home, which is associated with 2 other franchises in Hearst.


“In an increasingly competitive world and with a view to better serving local communities, we have decided to join the Home family in order to continue in our spirit of offering an excellent quality service and improve our service to the population of Hearst and surrounding area in the coming years.  To do this, it is important for us to partner with people who have small communities at heart.”  Explains Lise Joanis, manager of Hearst Lumber.


The Home Company has been in existence for 50 years and is a cooperative of retail owners who aim to enhance the value of more than 1 100 local stores across Canada offering quality services from local people.


“We here at Hearst Lumber are very proud to be part of this dynamic team, so we can add to the other 2 major local stores.  Home was the perfect option for us.  We will continue to give our customers the best in terms of price, quality and service.”  Added Ms. Joanis.


The Home team from Hearst and Region now count Maki Home Hardware, Viljo Home Furniture and Hearst Lumber Home Building Center.


These 3 family businesses have been, and continue to be, an integral part of the economic and community dynamism that makes Hearst and the surrounding area a great place to live.


Besides Hearst Lumber with its 85 years in business this year, note that Maki Home Hardware has been operating since 1954 in Hearst and is displaying this year  60 years well in business.  Viljo Home Furniture, founded in 1955, closely follows with its 59 years in business in Hearst.


The vibrancy of the Hearst community has always been driven by dynamic and visionary local entrepreneurs established in Hearst, not just passing through, but to remain as the actors of the affiliation Home.  Hearst Lumber, for whom quality and service go hand in hand, is still an important economic and community player in Hearst, as Ms. Joanis said in an interview “for the next 100 years”.

 Translation from the article: Bélanger, M (2014, 11 juin) – L’entreprise Hearst Lumber rejoint la bannière Home [Editorial] Le Nord (Hearst, Ont.) HA9

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