Interstar Is Moving Full Speed Ahead
03-19-2002By awarding Interstar the award for “Small Manufacturing Company”, the Sherbrooke Chamber of Commerce had it right. They shined their light on a company who, within a decade, and without fanfare, has distinguished itself on the international market.br>
Today Interstar, a company based in the Sherbrooke, Quebec, competes with multinational companies in Canada, United States, Mexico and England.
“We have increased our sales by 60 percent in the last year, and there is no reason to believe that this trend will stop. We have just entered the U.S. market and anything is possible,” declared the President of the company, Zachary Gillman.
Interstar is a company specialized in the production of pigments, admixtures and polypropylene fibres for concrete. The pigments are used to colour concrete and bricks; admixtures help to increase performance; and fibres reinforce concrete and make it stronger. The company also manufactures automated dispensing systems for pigment.
“Our customers are companies who specialize in concrete; they make bricks, blocks, pavers, etc.… Currently, we have one thousand customers, and we are growing rapidly,” explained Mr. Gillman.
Interstar must compete with multinational companies. However, Mr. Gillman explains, these multinationals have a hard time keeping up.
Proud of their flexibility
“We have developed an expertise that places us ahead of our competition. We place an enormous emphasis on research and development. As well, we have a flexibility that other, larger companies cannot compete with. We are able to fulfill customer demands within 24, 36 or 48 hours. We have built our company on the concept that we must provide the best customer service in the industry.”
Zachary Gillman is a Sherbrooke native; in fact, his family has been in the Eastern Townships since the beginning of the century. He studied in geology. The company was created in Montreal in 1987 and moved to St-Elie, Quebec (near Sherbrooke) when he bought one of his customers. Mr. Gillman said he moved without any hesitation.
“Not only was I coming home, but I was also establishing myself in an area where the quality of life and operational costs were better. No competitor can beat me in that regard.
The company has not only been innovative with their products, but has also developed novel packaging.
As Mr. Gillman explains, Interstar offers pigment in pre-weighed bags so that customers can mix exact pigment dosages to obtain uniform colour and to achieve the desired result. As well, the bags can simply be added directly into the concrete mixer without opening them. This reduces spillage and eliminates the need to modify the recipe as a result of losing any product.
The bags that contain the pigment, admixtures and fibre have been conceived so they can be added directly into the concrete mixer. You don’t even need to open them. This reduces any loss of content during the operation, leading to a modification of the recipe.
Interstar also manufactures pigment for coloring mulch and are currently in the process of hiring 40 employees for the Sherbrooke plant and distribution centers in Toronto, Calgary, Syracuse, New York, Tampa, Florida, Kansas City, Kansas, and Monterey and Mexico City in Mexico.
“We predict we will have 100 employees soon. There is enormous market potential. Taking Monterey Mexico for example, there are a hundred concrete producers, while in all of Quebec there are not even ten producers and in Ontario, there are no more than fifteen. The possibilities are endless for Interstar.”
La Tribune (Sherbrooke, Qc)
Sherbrooke, Tuesday march 19 2002,
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