Groupe Savoie: A tree-ditional family business with global reach

Posted on December 01, 2023 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments


A photo from the early days of Groupe Savoie in 1978 (photo credit: Groupe Savoie)


A family-owned business with deep roots in the forestry industry, Groupe Savoie Inc. approaches 50 years in operation. Now with over 600 employees and customers across the globe, the small father-and-son venture has grown tall.

Taking root

The beginning of Groupe Savoie dates back to 1978. After working at a sawmill for nearly 20 years, Hector Savoie decided to start his own business. He convinced his son Jean-Claude to quit his job as a high school teacher and join him in acquiring Restigouche Hardwood and Cèdre Restigouche, two forestry companies in New Brunswick.

It was a risk that paid off in the long run, but the father and son team experienced some initial challenges. A fire destroyed a significant amount of inventory during their first year in business and in 1980 the Restigouche Hardwood mill completely burned down and was not rebuilt. However, the Savoies persevered. Changes were made to the Cèdre Restigouche mill to focus on hardwood and business soon started to grow.


A Groupe Savoie truck (photo credit: Groupe Savoie)

New branches

Through diversification, Hector and Jean-Claude began to expand the business’ product line to utilize every part of a tree. In 1984, they began manufacturing pallets using lower-quality pieces of wood and built the Savoie & Fils Inc. sawmill in 1989, which focused on transforming wood shavings into pulp. A factory was built specifically for pallet production in 1992 and the business continued to invest in new technology over time.

The organization adopted the name Groupe Savoie in 1994 when the Cèdre Restigouche and Savoie & Fils sawmills merged to form one entity. That same year, Groupe Savoie acquired Pallets Plus in Moncton and its first customers in Europe. From there, a mill was constructed in Nova Scotia in 1997, two production facilities were built in the early 2000s and Groupe Savoie launched subsidiary Canawick in 2010 to sell ecological fuel. The family business also expanded its customer base across the globe with the launch of Précitech Hardwood International in 2013.


A video featuring two long-time employees of Groupe Savoie’s Westville, N.S. location (video credit: WestFor Management Inc. on YouTube)

Room to grow

While Groupe Savoie harvests some of its own wood, it also purchases hardwood from suppliers across the Maritimes to meet production capacity. In an effort to secure a more consistent supply, the organization educates landowners about the value of hardwood. Using a traditional approach, the procurement manager of its Westville sawmill travels across the province to deliver the message and network with potential suppliers.


A Groupe Savoie facility (photo credit: Groupe Savoie)

Standing tall

Today, Groupe Savoie continues to operate from Saint-Quentin, N.B., as well as its other facilities across the province and in Nova Scotia. Now with customers worldwide, the family-owned organization has grown from its initial 20 employees to over 600. With full-scale processes that utilize every part of a tree, the organization makes a variety of products including hardwood lumber, cabinets, pallets, guitar frames, drumsticks, other components and home heating products.

After 45 years, Groupe Savoie still stands tall.

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