DeSerres was founded in 1908 and remains a family-owned business in its third generation. With modern, spacious, and colourful stores, DeSerres provides supplies for children, students, artists, hobbyists, designers, and art enthusiasts everywhere.
Story and Milestones
In order to keep up with demand, several new stores were opened: Grandview, Vaudreuil, Pickering, Lachenaie, Hamel, Richmond Hill, Drummondville, Dufferin, and Boucherville, for a total of 33 stores across Canada. A transactional website launched in 2010 to cater to the growing internet culture.In 2014, DeSerres became paperless in an effort to minimize waste. The Concordia store moved to Place Alexis Nihon in 2015.
Aside from making more acquisitions, DeSerres opened many new stores: Oakville, Chicoutimi, Laval, Sherbrooke, Saint-Hubert, Trois-Rivières, Quebec City, Marché Central, Concordia, Pointe-Claire, Boisbriand, Saint-Léonard, Gatineau, Brossard, Edmonton, and Ottawa. In addition, a few stores were relocated: the Vancouver store moved to Broadway Street, and the Sainte-Catherine Ouest store moved to Place Montréal-Trust, right in the heart of downtown Montreal. Roger DeSerres passed away in 2004 shortly after turning ninety years old. In 2008, DeSerres celebrated its 100-year anniversary.
In 1994, DeSerres acquired Le Foyer Artistique, an art supply chain with 13 stores and more than 200 employees, which were integrated under the DeSerres name after a few years’ time. Five more Loomis stores were purchased in 1995.
The 1980s were years of acquisitions and interesting developments. First, in 1986, DeSerres acquired Quebec companies Lizotte et J.-G. Trottier and Pavillion des Arts. The next addition was Loomis & Toles in 1988 which would mark the first appearance of DeSerres stores outside of Quebec. In 1989, the company created the Omer DeSerres Chair of Retailing at the École des hautes études commerciales, which is still in place today.
By 1975, the face of department stores was changing and competition was fierce. When the founder’s grandson Marc joined the company, it was clear to him that they should anticipate a future in art supplies—a market that seemed to be growing exponentially.
New opportunities presented themselves when The School of Applied Arts moved to a location close to the downtown branch. The 1950s saw the first fine and graphic arts section, which was small but well stocked.
In 1949, Omer passed away, leaving a 34-year-old Roger in charge of the seven stores in a difficult post-war market. They were lucky; the stores were successful and continued to grow and diversify, selling everything from sports equipment to small household appliances.
Roger, Omer’s eldest son, joined the business in 1937 and together they transformed their hardware shops into thriving department stores.
1926 saw the first printed catalogue of heating and plumbing supplies. It was 572 biilingual, illustrated pages and was handsomely bound in green leather. A year later, an indexed paper version with gold lettering was widely distributed. The first deliveries were made by horse-drawn carriage.
By 1913, the business had started selling automobile accessories, utility paints, and wall-hangings on top of the plumbing and heating supplies. Roger was born to Omer and his wife Eugénie on September 5, 1914. In 1917, despite the effects of WWI, it was necessary to have a four-storey warehouse built to keep the larger merchandise.
Omer DeSerres was 26 years old when he acquired an ironwork shop in Montreal on the corner of Sainte-Catherine and Saint-Denis which he converted into a hardware store. With dedication and hard work, he was able to open more stores and became a major distributor of plumbing and heating equipment.