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DeCloet Greenhouse Manufacturing Ltd.: Experienced at Delivering Excellence
There are several greenhouse manufacturers in Canada, but few operate with the same level of experience and quality or can deliver with the same confidence as DeCloet Greenhouse Manufacturing Ltd. (DGM). DGM, located in Simcoe, Ontario, was founded in 1986 by Benjamin DeCloet based on a desire to bring quality greenhouse design and manufacturing to North America. Now, 25 years later, DeCloet still runs the firm with the same enthusiasm and pride as he did when he launched with little more than determination. “I had been working at a small place in the industry for a couple of years and I decided [DGM] would be a good venture. I bought a building and some equipment and I started the business. It’s been a lot of hard work and long hours, but in the end I’ve built something that I’m very proud of,” DeCloet says.
DeCloet feels that his firm is superior to the competition based on its innovative process for construction he has cultivated over time. “We have a lot of competition, but we produce a better product. We have good design, quality manufacturing, and we use more hot dip galvanized product than the majority of the greenhouse manufacturers in the industry,” reveals DeCloet. “It has better coating than the standard pre-galvanized products out there. We also have a uniqueness of design that makes our product look better.”
Having established both its product and its reputation for comprehensive service, the firm actively markets itself to production growers, nurseries and retail centers across North America, and DeCloet estimates that his sales are split pretty evenly between the United States and Canada. The company maintains a lean staff of 25 to ensure that overhead stays under control, and the firm grossed nearly $10 million in sales in 2010.
Retail and Growing Solutions
DGM provides cost-saving and energy-efficient solutions for greenhouse systems. The firm manufactures heating, control, energy, shade, ventilation and bench systems that help improve overall efficiency through automation, lower energy costs, maximize available space, foster better growing environments, and keep greenhouse structures up-to-date technologically. In addition, DGM offers a variety of full greenhouses based on North American engineering and European design, such as the Venlo structures for maximum light transmission, that appeal to everyone from the full-time grower to the casual backyard enthusiast.
One of the company’s most popular and versatile designs, the Growers Choice freestanding coldframe, is described on the company’s websites as being excellent for both growing and retail. DGM says it’s stronger than anything else on the market because of its welded truss-style hoops in the roof and taller sidewalls. The firm also offers custom structures, such as quick-to-assemble poly gutter connect greenhouses, to meet personal needs and crop requirements. Such specifications can include structures that increase shade, minimize clutter or increase light transmission, and DGM will work to make sure it stays within the customer’s budget without sacrificing quality.
DGM's experience has the company prepared to deliver quality expediently, as DeCloet recounts with the details of a recent custom project the firm completed. “The owner wanted a 30-acre greenhouse for a vegetable growing operation. It was a full turnkey project, but we successfully completed it on time and on budget.”
Managing Subs – Key to Success
For turnkey projects the firm typically subs out the actual construction, heating, irrigation, electrical and computer work, but ensures the work is up to DGM standards by keeping project management on-site. To facilitate this ability the company has established relationships with a trusted network of subcontractors that strive for the same level of quality, success and service as every DGM employee.
Subcontractors play a vital role for DGM, and their hard work continues uninterrupted thanks to the stringent safety codes DGM enacts to ensure its success in the industry. “Safety is paramount here,” according to DeCloet. “We have weekly safety meetings and constantly reinforce to the staff the importance of taking preventative measures to ensure everyone’s safety. We have an excellent track record in the industry, and in the past 25 years we have only had very minor accidents. It’s my goal every day to ensure that my employees get home safely at the end of the day.”
With all of these proactive procedures in place, DeCloet is optimistic about where the company is headed as he looks to the future. “From what we see, things are getting better and we’re quite hopeful. We plan on maintaining our presence in the greenhouse industry and we’re looking at diversifying into other branches within the farming industry. We’re looking at potentially building the actual farm buildings for farmers. It makes sense, because we’ve established such a good reputation with our greenhouses so we think farmers would respond positively to other DeCloet buildings.”
Working within a specialized industry that demands both structural and ethical integrity, and delivering both, Benjamin DeCloet and DeCloet Greenhouse Manufacturing Ltd. have a reputation for quality and innovation that will allow the company to withstand and expand for another quarter century and beyond.