According to IBISWorld, “Canada’s richest source of business and industry information,” their 2016 market research report on millwork in Canada comes to one inescapable conclusion: “As the domestic housing market slows down, industry revenue will decline.” For many owners of the 1,634 millwork businesses registered in Canada, it’s time to reluctantly clear their throats and practice their “Bah! Humbug!” to keep at bay wanting workers during what IBISWorld says will be a slow five-year climb back to profitably. But Greg Boutilier, founder and owner of GB Millwork in Windsor Junction, Nova Scotia, doesn’t find himself begrudgingly tightening his purse strings before his employees’ eyes. In fact, Boutilier and his team just completed what was their largest project, financially, to date. By David MacDonald W hat gives GB Millwork immunity from the growing housing bubble in Canada is all in the business strategy. “Our vision of millwork is commercial cabinetry, wall panelling, wood door frames, trim work, solid surface manufacturing – it’s an abundance of things,” Boutilier explained. “It’s basically anything wood in a commer- cial building.” That’s not to say that GB Millwork isn’t a residential competitor. There is a Residential tab in the Projects menu at gbmillwork.ca that features photographs of kitchen cabinets and countertops of varying complexity and design. “We take-on residential projects – mostly kitchens. We never turn these jobs away, but it’s not our focus.” Boutilier is a man who knows a thing or two about focus. Before the advent of GB Millwork in 2005, Boutilier had been sweeping floors for a construction company. “I got laid off and went to work for a local millwork company and really started to enjoy the industry,” he said.
The path became clear for Boutilier.
“I attended the Atlantic Woodworking Centre of Excellence in Campbellton, New Brunswick from 2002 to 2004. I didn’t know anybody in Campbellton, but I booked a boarding house and bought a train ticket.” At the time, Boutilier
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS • SEPTEMBER 2016
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