Packaging and harvesting are part of the changes of the CONVEX Group
CONVEX Group has shifted its business focus over the past year, shutting down its popular Hawkesbury Antiques furniture business, but expanding into other areas.
The nonprofit operates eight businesses in Prescott and Russell counties to provide work for people who otherwise face barriers to employment.
In December 2020, CONVEX Group closed its Hawkesbury Antiques furniture business, which offered antique furniture restoration services to area residents. While the service was popular, difficulties in finding qualified supervisors to lead the work, along with competition in the furniture industry, forced the organization to make the difficult decision to shut down.
“The Hawkesbury Antiques business model no longer suited the CONVEX Group,” explained Managing Director Simon Durand.
Durand said one of the challenges for Hawkesbury Antiques was finding a high-level cabinet maker who could coordinate the work with other employees. He noted that the furniture restoration industry is very competitive. The CONVEX Group continues to operate the Casselman Woodshop, which manufactures furniture and doors.
To compensate for the closure of Hawkesbury Antiques, CONVEX Group has decided to relocate its Prescott-Russell Packaging business from Rockland to Hawkesbury. The move ensured that closing the antique restoration workshop would have no effect on employment at Group Convex in Hawkesbury.
“Nobody loses their job,” Durand assured.
In fact, more employees are added to the organization’s eight companies in Prescott-Russell. CONVEX Group currently has around 180 employees, 140 of whom face barriers to regular employment.
Since moving to Hawkesbury, the work of Prescott-Russell Packaging has expanded. The company recently won a contract to repackage 12,000 board games for distribution to Chapters and Indigo stores, and another contract to repackage 3,000 additional games for another distributor. Durand said they would not have been able to handle the contract at the old Rockland location. Prescott-Russell Packaging also has a screw packaging contract for a window company.
Roxanne Courcy, who oversees operations at Emballage Prescott-Russell, said one of the main goals of the CONVEX Group is to provide a good working environment for company employees.
“What is important to me is that they are proud to enter the world of work,” she explained.
Courcy said the employees at Prescott-Russell Packaging are incredibly dedicated and love the sense of purpose and dignity that comes with work.
Another operation of the Convex Group, the Moissonneurs activity – a work cooperative serving agricultural producers – extended its activities during 2021 to become a producer itself. Harvesters employees planted vegetables on two acres near Plantagenet, and the company recently acquired a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse, which will be installed on the site in February 2022.
“We are moving to have our own operation,” said Durand.
Ultimately, the CONVEX Group intends to enter the field of food processing using products from The Harvesters garden and greenhouse.
Aside from the closure of Hawkesbury Antiques, the relocation of Prescott-Russell Packaging and the expansion of The Harvesters, CONVEX Group does not anticipate any other significant changes to its businesses. No other shutdown of the CONVEX Group’s activities is planned.
The other businesses operated by CONVEX Group are Café Le Plateau in Hawkesbury, Recycle-Action in Hawkesbury, Express Net in Hawkesbury, Café Bistro in Rockland and the Multi-Services Team.