On a brisk Québec City morning, Clément employees arrive at the company headquarters, a large retail and storeroom space. Seemingly unbothered by the frosty temperature, owner Jean Clément is warm and jovial, while he engages in friendly chatter with staff. Exceptionally down-to-earth, Mr. Clément manages over 500 employees and 30 stores that span across the province of Québec, from Montréal to Sept-Îles. A true Québécois success story, the family-run company has been innovating the children’s clothing, furniture, and accessories industry for 76 years.
But Mr. Clément is hardly stuck in the past. A savvy entrepreneur, he’s forward-thinking, and eager to expand the company’s strong business. Today, the company remains true to its original family values, and no one is above performing a menial chore. Mr. Clément’s son Jean-Philippe explains, “We take on all tasks. We roll up our sleeves and put our hearts into our work.” And he never loses sight of the foundation upon which the company was first built, “What makes us happy at Clément is the sacred fire of customer satisfaction.”
To keep the company moving forward, Mr. Clément relies on a fleet of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Metris vans. Whether delivering large furniture and merchandise to other stores or directly to customers, he’s customized the vans to meet his employees’ needs, “We have special bumpers in the back, so that our delivery men don’t slip, and we have metal partitions that prevent packages from falling. We also have special mirrors that let us see blind spots. We can customize the vans however we want. The drivers like the feel of the vans, the comfort, the onboard GPS, all the equipment to make their lives easier and more comfortable. At the end of the day, they show up with a smile and not exhausted from driving a van that didn’t meet all their needs.”
The Clément fleet began with Sprinters, and as the experience with them was so positive, Mr. Clément knew he’d be pleased with the addition of the Metris, “It’s more versatile. Our staff really like driving the Metris. It’s very easy to drive. And what I like about it is that it’s a 4-cylinder with 208 horsepower, which makes it a powerful vehicle for long trips, if needed.” Manoeuvring through the city’s narrow streets and alleys is where Mr. Clément says the Metris shines, “We can drive down the small streets of Québec City. And when we need to park somewhere, it’s not any harder to park than a car, and it has lots of space.” He adds, “It’s like mixing utility with pleasure, because you get the everyday utility of a van, but you get the pleasure and safety of a Mercedes-Benz.”
Making deliveries throughout the province is no small feat, and to do so Mr. Clément chose Mercedes-Benz vans specifically. For him, they hit all the right notes. He explains, “Why did I choose Mercedes-Benz? Simply for the quality and the service. We cut our fuel consumption by 30% to 40%, and, of course, the product quality is better than what we had before. These vans are really versatile when it comes to savings, ergonomics, and strategy. They’re good vehicles.” His son Jean-Philippe elaborates, “In the long term, with the money we save in regards to fuel, it becomes more profitable. The vans are really efficient.”
While Mr. Clément is impressed with the vans’ cost efficiency over time, anyone who sees the vans immediately appreciates the branding – a shiny fire-engine red serves as a backdrop to white spots showcasing the company’s products. The graphics are an apt reflection of the company’s fun personality. Mr. Clément explains, “All our vans have unique decorations with polka-dots, so people recognize our merchandise. And it has a huge impact on how it’s seen. People often tell us they love our vans, it’s really an important visual for us. Because our vans provide us with a large platform to be as visual as possible, it’s an additional asset to have a van like that.”
Mr. Clément is dedicated to providing high quality products and service to his customers. Delivering merchandise in a Mercedes-Benz van not only reflects this value, but sets him apart, “We’re a bit unlike other people, and that’s what makes us different. We offer our customers a unique product and experience, and I think that we’re like Mercedes-Benz, because we’re unique like them. They’re a quality product. So we’re showing that to our customers.”
For Mr. Clément, the importance of family runs through every aspect of the business, “The great thing about old age is that the older I get, the more I realize that we have a wonderful success story. Our children joined the company, and that makes my brother, sisters, and me very happy. And when I retire, I think I will have accomplished being a good grandfather and a good dad at the same time.” Retirement is looking far off, though, as Mr. Clément climbs eagerly into his Metris and embarks on another day’s work.