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Company of the Year (51+ Employees): Legend Boats

“We are the only facility left in this area still on the water,” said Duhamel. Their business approach has been to live the boating lifestyle.

Marc Duhamel, co-CEO of Legend Boats, said the success of the Sudbury-area company belongs to the employees taking care of customers. “We look after the employees, and they look after us,” he said.

“Some have become an extended family from working for such a long time for us. We work hard to attract top talent that understand customer needs using a frontto- back service approach, having the same person taking care of a client’s account.” To foster that caring environment, the company has been working to create a welcoming and encouraging environment at the shop.

From its new 50,000 square-foot main campus in the Sudbury suburb of Whitefish on the Vermillion River, to regularly re-evaluating service and comprehensive training for staff, Legend Boats is always looking for ways to enhance their business model by improving the experience for everyone involved.

Legend Boats has been taking advantage of its physical location since its founding in 1968, then known as Duhamel and Dewar, to help customers with their purchases and ownership.

Being right on the water allows staff to see customers going by, and serve them right in the water, whether it be test driving or picking up a craft.

“We are the only facility left in this area still on the water,” said Duhamel. Their business approach has been to live the boating lifestyle.

They’ve worked hard on their customer relations management with new systems to keep up with customer needs and in-house technical support.

Their pricing model is always upfront, so they cultivate customer loyalty by being honest.

To keep up with demand and further improve the experience for staff, the company started expansion plans seven years ago.

They had built piecemeal onto their original building over the years, but never ended up with a shop that truly represented what they wanted. Room was still scarce.

The whole intention of the expansion was to build a better facility for current and future staff.

After years of construction, hurdles and delays, they created a workspace Duhamel said helps the employees work more efficiently, with 90 per cent of staff working out of one building.

The space includes a lounge, shop space, on-site gym and kitchen where they could take a break from work.

Since many of the staff commute to work and there are no restaurants in Whitefish, the workplace has to be comfortable and inviting.

Happy employees means they serve customers more efficiently, and the rest takes care of itself, Duhamel said.

With satellite locations in Barrie and Montreal, the company gives back to its home community.

Legend Boats has always backed charitable events.

This year, the company went back to the staff to ask them what the company should support.

They chose NeoKids, a facility at Health Sciences North for specialized children’s care.

In-house, they run their annual Fishing for Food, where they take a boat to events and locations to fill it with food donations for the Elgin Street Mission.

Last year, they collected about three tons of donations, filling a boat several times over.

These elements set the company apart. Duhamel said there is no way Legend Boats could not have grown at the rate it has without staff working hard.

They use the philosophy of treating them as they would treat their own family members, and it becomes a cycle of success.