SP, a leading Quebec maker of professional sports uniforms and custom apparel for major global brands such as Nike, Adidas, CCM and Bauer, is investing $20 million to acquire a new manufacturing facility in St-Hyacinthe. This will help the company meet the growing demand for its high-quality sporting apparel.
“This sizable investment will enable us to pursue our growth, particularly in the United States and Europe, and move forward with high-profile projects that will strengthen our leadership in this fast-growing sector,” explained Steve Bérard, owner and CEO of SP. “We also intend to take advantage of this opportunity to accelerate our transition to industry 4.0 by introducing cutting-edge technologies and manufacturing equipment that integrates digital tools with the aim of improving our productivity and efficiency.”
The company, which already owns a plant on Avenue Hubert in St-Hyacinthe, plans to launch production activities at its new establishment, located at 6935 Rue Picard beside Highway 20, in the fall of 2022. The process of transferring activities from one plant to the other is scheduled to end in early 2023, once renovation work has been completed.
This announcement will lead to the creation of 40 new manufacturing jobs. SP currently employs 260 workers at its three facilities, located in St-Hyacinthe, Granby and Val-des-Sources.
An Ultra-Modern Manufacturing Environment
In the coming months, SP will focus its efforts on bringing its new facility up to the required standards and setting up its production shop. Spaces for office personnel will also be constructed. The new building, which occupies 115,000 square feet, will offer 65% more space—an essential asset for a company that’s expanding rapidly.
“We have big ambitions for this new plant. The move will enable us to update our automation and robotization strategy in order to significantly improve our long-term capacity for production and innovation, as well as optimizing the processing of our products,” stated Daniel Goyette, Director of Operations.
SP will leverage its new space to reinvent the traditional plant concept. “We’ve decided to create an exceptional work and living environment linked to the needs of our employees. The new plant will have more windows, relaxation areas, several patios and a community garden. We have other initiatives planned to make our environment inviting and unique. We care about the well-being of our people, and we are taking the steps needed to retain our employees and attract new talent. Our growth depends on having a strong, passionate, fully engaged team,” explained Tania Berlinguette, Director, Strategic Development and Culture.
The design of the new site was entrusted to architect Éric Champagne and the firm EXA Design. The work will be carried out by general contractor NGA Construction.
The announcement reflects the success of this family business, which has carved out a prominent place in the world of sports. The SP team’s expertise in developing and manufacturing high-quality technical clothing lies at the heart of its remarkable growth in recent years. Today, SP’s sports uniforms are sought after and worn by the world’s biggest hockey clubs, including the Montreal Canadiens. SP’s success and visibility are a source of pride for all Quebecers.
Major Initiatives Driving Growth
“After two years of upheaval, we are emerging from this turbulent time stronger than ever. Given the success of our collaboration with Nike at the 2022 Winter Olympics and the launch of the NHL’s new uniforms, manufactured with Adidas from recycled materials, this is the ideal moment to undertake major strategic projects with our future in mind,” noted Bérard.
Passion for sports and business is part of Steve Bérard’s DNA. He took over the reins of the family company in 2018 to continue the work begun by his father. “Today’s announcement brings us another step closer to achieving our vision, which is to be recognized as North America’s leading maker of hockey uniforms. The support of Investissement Québec, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), Desjardins Business, the Business Development Bank of Canada (DBC) and Desjardins Capital for this project is essential to maintaining our competitiveness at the international level. I thank them for their invaluable support,” remarked Bérard.
“Our team based in the Montérégie is proud to contribute to SP’s major growth initiative by providing a $5-million loan from our own funds. For almost 25 years, this family business has distinguished itself in a highly competitive global market by leveraging R&D, innovation and customized service. In St-Hyacinthe, as in all regions of Quebec, our experts have the financing and support tools needed to assist entrepreneurs seeking to grow their business in Quebec and abroad,” said Guy Leblanc, president and CEO, Investissement Québec.
“Our government is proud to support SP by granting it $2 million to enable it enhance its productivity and increase its production capacity. Helping businesses grow and innovate so they can create good-quality jobs is a core priority for us. That is why we are providing assistance to this manufacturing business, which generates significant economic spin-offs for the Montérégie region, as well as the entire Canadian economy,” indicated the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Member of Parliament for Brome–Missisquoi, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for CED.
The company decided to remain in St-Hyacinthe due the strategic location and the consistent support it has received from the Ville de Saint-Hyacinthe and Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole.
Founded in 1999, SP Apparel is the most trusted name in custom sports apparel. Its uniforms are worn by thousands of professional and amateur teams around the world, including all 32 NHL teams and the Olympic ice hockey teams of every nation. Its clients include the industry’s leading brands, such as Nike, Adidas, CCM and Bauer.
The family business has three establishments, in St-Hyacinthe, Granby and Val-des-Sources. Its team, comprised of 260 employees, produces over a million products each year, including jerseys, socks, pant shells, pants and hockey bags.