It’s “business as usual” for Les Entreprises Rémi Bercier, a farm equipment sales and service business located at 1433 Concession Road 6 in Vankleek Hill. Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Owners Yves Lalonde (left) and Daniel Levac are also available after hours and on weekends for breakdowns and emergency repairs. Courtesy Photo
By Sandy Casselman
AgriNews Staff Writer
VANKLEEK HILL – According to Les Entreprises Rémi Bercier, a farm equipment sales and service business, the COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed or stopped farmers’ construction projects and it’s “business as usual” for the Vankleek Hill business.
“Farmers seem to be building at the same rate now as before the pandemic,” Co-owner Yves Lalonde said. “The difference seems to be that the buildings got a lot larger. The projects are bigger, barns are longer, and silos are taller. There doesn’t seem to be more, or less, projects. I don’t really see a difference in what people are or aren’t doing right now. It’s pretty much business as usual for us. The trend lately has been new barns or additions to existing barns and renovations to improve animal comfort.”
Founded in the early 1970s by Rémi Bercier, the business was bought by Yves Lalonde and Daniel Levac in 2007. Located at 1433 Concession Road 6 in Vankleek Hill, the local agriculture business is one of the most trusted farm equipment suppliers east of Ottawa.
“We’re a third-generation farm equipment dealer started by my grandfather over 50 years ago,” Lalonde said. “We’re here to stay, with a lot of experience behind us specializing in feeding, manure handling, and stalls for the dairy farm with ventilation and grain handling sidelines, and everything in between. We’re always looking to expand with new customers, covering Eastern Ontario from the Ottawa River to the St. Lawrence. Our main lines are Valmetal, PFB, Faromor/Canarm, and Westeel.”
Available products, as well as current projects can be found on Les Entreprises Rémi Bercier’s website, complete with photos. There is also a “for sale” section where available items are listed for sale, both new and used, with accompanying photos.
“We’re very versatile in what we can do, therefore we can adapt quickly to the available work. We’re well equipped with specialized vehicles like a ladder/bucket truck, small boom truck, fully-equipped service trucks with welder, torches, and compressor, so we can repair just about anything that is broken or needs improvement,” Lalonde said. “From sales and installation of new equipment to maintenance and repairs, to barn renovation, we have the ability to do it all, and because of that we’re a one-stop shop for many farmers. When we show up on their farm, we can fix their unloader, tune up the feed cart, weld a couple gates, and shorten the barn cleaner chain all on the same service call.”
While Les Entreprises Rémi Bercier is operating in a business-as-usual fashion now, when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, it caused a short slow-down for the Vankleek Hill business. Lalonde said there was a period of a month or so when their phones hardly rang, and it was a couple of months before sales began to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
“The worry we have now is the shortage of labour and the backlog to get material is affecting deeply how fast we can get equipment. Our suppliers are backlogged, and it will be difficult to get material in the coming year, which will impact how much work we’ll have this year and the amount of new projects we’ll be able to complete,” Lalonde said, referencing some of the remaining pandemic-related impacts. “We’ll always be available for repairs, and parts don’t seem to be a big problem right now, but I’m afraid we’re going to see even more back orders this year that will eventually lead to a shortage of repair parts. We are stocking a lot of spare parts, but we can’t tell what the demand will be in the future. We just hope we’ll have enough of the right parts to fix everybody up.”
Les Entreprises Rémi Bercier is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. In addition, Lalonde and Levac remain available for breakdowns and repairs after hours and on weekends.
“Our hours are the same as before the pandemi, as the nature of our job doesn’t permit us to reduce our hours of operation. Farmers run seven days a week, so we have to answer the phone seven days a week for breakdowns after hours,” Lalonde said, adding that both owners are available via their cellphone numbers. “We don’t have an office number yet, as we’re rarely in the office anyway and I believe it provides better, faster answers to our customers by reaching us directly.”
For more information, visit Les Entreprises Rémi Bercier’s website (remibercier.ca), follow the business on Facebook (facebook.com/LesEntreprisesRemiBercierInc), phone salesperson Jacques Auger at 613-676-0279, or contact one of the owners directly. Lalonde can be reached by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 613-677-0649, while Levac can be reached by phone at 613-880-0783.