June 2018

68 69 able to export Royer’s unique expertise all around the world. Today, Royer sells its boots in over twenty countries. In the early 2000s, Royer began importing some products, and in 2007, in order to remain compet- itive in an industry that was becoming dominated by foreign manufacturers, the company reas- sessed its business strategy, and decided to lever- age its expertise in highly specialized products to the general-use work boots segment. It designed what it called “The Mother of All Boots” collection and established a strategic alliance to outsource the production of the new line in South-East Asia. The Mother of All Boots quickly became a hit among Canadian workers and is renowned for its outstanding comfort and flexibility. “In 2012, the company was sold to Simon La Rochelle, the Company’s R&D manager” says LeBlond. “He was in his early 30s when he bought it and his background is in design and innovation; he was the one who did the design of the im- ported products and really brought it to another level. Right now, we have six full-time people on our innovation team and many new products. We have a new collection that came out over the past two to three years. It’s called ‘AGILITY.’We do the assembly, the soling, and the finishing in Can- ada.” The made-in/assembled-in/imported hybrid L.P. ROYER, INC. business strategy allowed the company to main- tain its Canadian operations, still manufacturing over 50 percent of its product line from its plant in Lac-Drolet, Quebec. Today, Royer employs about 135 workers and makes about 300,000 pairs of boots a year for heavy industries, including: Construction, Trans- portation,Warehousing and Distribution, Met- allurgy and Foundry, Manufacturing, Mining, Oil and Gas Extraction, Food, Agriculture, Forestry, Chemical, First Response, Municipal Utilities, and Electric Power Distribution, as well as for general purpose. In 2015, Royer landed its first major contract with the Canadian Armed Forces. LeBlond ex- plains: “The requisites to get the bid were: it has to be the very light; it has to be highly breath- able; it has to be quick drying; and very aesthet- ical. So, we built the boot exactly that way. And to win the bid, it’s not lowest price; you have to check all the technical boxes. Then, you make 200 pairs and send them out to the soldiers. They put them through their routines and they actually vote on which boot they want.” The company soon took that innovative boot and introduced it into its construction and gen- eral purpose, safety footwear line. “Our boots are ones of the lightest in the market,” LeBlond claims. “They’re extremely flexible; they wick moisture; and they dry quickly.” Two key industrial partners are W.L. Gore, the maker of GORE-TEX and CROSSTECH fabrics, and Vibram, the maker of rubber outsoles. “Vibram has an Arctic Grip sole technology that performs exceptionally well