History of Garant
Always Moving Forward
The story of Garant goes back to 1895, when blacksmith Télesphore Garant began forging farm implements in the village of Saint-François-de-la-Rivière du Sud. He quickly developed a reputation for innovating new techniques and better tools, persevering through tough times, and working tirelessly toward his goals.
1895The Village Blacksmith
1906The Great Trip
1914The Family's Return
1922The Machine that Changed Everything
1930From Inventor to Manufacturer
1935A Family Enterprise
1944A Garant & Sons, Ltd.
1945Change of Direction
1954The Garant Shovel is Born
1958From Father to Son
1959$1 Million in Sales
1984The Plastic Era
1986The Fourth Generation
1991Growth & Global Ties
1995100 Years of Growth
1996The Garant Legacy Passes Forward
1999Distribution Centre Construction
2015Celebrating 120 Years of Moving Forward
The Village Blacksmith
Télesphore Garant builds his forge in 1895 to be close to his customers, mainly farmers. He restores carriages, carriage wheels, plow pedestals and other farm instruments, hooks, picks, axes and much more.
The Great Trip
Despite long hours in the forge, Télesphore is struggling to sustain his family in Saint-François. Like many families in Québec at the turn of the century, he decides to look for more prosperous work in the United States. On April 16, 1906, he moves with his wife Eloise and their eight children to Nashua, New Hampshire.
The Family's Return
At the start of World War I, Télesphore Garant returns to his forge in Saint-François. Alphonse, his son, soon follows with his new wife Albertine. Alphonse takes a job at a munitions plant in Montmagny, where he becomes an excellent machinist. When the munitions plant closes at the end of the war, Alphonse returns to his father’s forge with a proposal:
Father, if you are interested, we could start something here. ~ Alphonse Garant
The Machine that Changed Everything
After much trial and error, Alphonse builds a cast iron machine called a copying lathe that reproduces carriage wheels in wood. Their wheels become a best-selling product in the villages across the area. The Garants also develop a wood drying regimen that makes their products much stronger. They transport goods and supplies in a cart hauled by their large family dog, Dandy.
From Inventor to Manufacturer
Working tirelessly to perfect his lathe, Alphonse is able to turn out a wide array of handles for tools such as shovels, axes and pitchforks. Forestry companies are approaching Garant for their high quality handles and Garant’s factory is operating at full capacity.
A Family Enterprise
Alphonse’s family has grown to ten children, and four of his boys work in the factory daily: Oscar, Marcel, Daniel and Irenee. Business is good, so the family hires a few boys from the village to boost production. They are housed, fed and paid a weekly wage of 25 cents.
My mother gave me 25 cents the first week. The second week she asked me if I had any money left. I told her I still had 10 cents, so she gave me 15 cents. ~ Daniel Garant
Oscar Garant sells the company’s products door-to-door in villages throughout the area, hauling them in a jalopy hitched to a small trailer. He later widens his sales territory by selling to local retailers.
He would come back to the shop when he had a hundred dollars in his pockets. That was enough to pay everybody. When he came in, he would say, “Produce, Daniel, produce all you can. Don’t worry, it’s already sold.” Then he was back on the road. ~ Daniel Garant
A Garant & Sons, Ltd.
The Garants decide to form a company, and on January 4, 1944, A. Garant & Sons Co., Ltd is founded.
Change of Direction
At the end of WWII, smaller metal wheels with metal tires begin to replace wooden carriage wheels. The Garants form A. Garant and Sons, Ltd. and shift all of their production into tool handles. The factory has 20 employees working on three lathes built by Alphonse, each turning out one handle per minute. They also manufacture other wood and iron products, including horse collars, wheelbarrows, wagons, stretchers, sleds and hockey sticks.
The Garant Shovel is Born
The Garants manufacture their first complete tool, the steel square point snow shovel, using a steel press purchased from the munitions plant in Montmagny and a custom mold. Shortly after, they add the round point steel shovel and the aluminum square shovel. The factory can produce 45 to 50 shovels per hour, or 450 to 500 shovels per day.
Garant expands its production facilities and its tool lines dramatically to include pitchforks, rakes, hoes, shovels and much more.
We had an edge over our competitors in that we used dried wood for our products. Dried wood is the guarantee of a quality tool, since it doesn’t shrink or split. ~ Jean-Marie Garant
From Father to Son
By 1958, Garant is offering “the most complete line of tool handles and assembled tools ever offered by a Canadian manufacturer.” With the company poised on the brink of breaking $1 million in sales, Alphonse Garant passes away. Oscar Garant is named president of the company to succeed his father.
$1 Million in Sales
The company breaks the $1 million mark, and immediately sets its sights on breaking the $2 million mark.
On December 31, 1965, A. Garant and Sons Co. Ltd. becomes Garant, Inc.
In 1968, Garant opens a warehouse in Montreal to provide metropolitan wholesalers and retailers with Garant products. The same year, the company purchases a wood mill in Woodstock, New Brunswick and moves the offices from the old family home into a new building.
Two years later, Garant proudly displays its name outside of Quebec at its new warehouse in Toronto.
By the early 1980s, ownership of the company is divided among 38 members of the Garant family, with a majority of the shares held by the families of Oscar, Marcel, Daniel, Irenee and Jean-Marie. Eighteen family members work for the company full-time. The company faces increasing competition from lower-priced competitors in the U.S. and China.
The Plastic Era
Garant begins testing plastic products and adding them to its offerings. Initially, the company incorporates plastic components made by local manufacturers via hot pressing and injection molding. Convinced of their performance, Garant expands its plastic offerings.
The Fourth Generation
On January 3, 1986, Garant is sold to three cousins of the fourth generation of pioneers: Louis-Marie Garant, Guy Garant and Alain Garant.
Growth & Global Ties
In January 1991, Garant Inc. is sold to Hanson, PLC, a multinational building materials company that owns AMES, a major U.S. manufacturer of lawn and garden tools with product lines similar to Garant’s. AMES invests more than $3.5 million in the modernization of the factory and the Woodstock mill. Shortly after, Garant invests in plastic injection molding presses and brings plastic production in-house.
100 Years of Growth
In 1995, Garant celebrates its 100th anniversary. In an introduction to a centennial corporate history, President Louis Marie Garant writes:
Throughout [Garant’s history], you will recognize the resourcefulness and the courage of these builders of the future who were not afraid of taking calculated risks and who put faith in their experience, their tenacity and the quality of their work and their products. ~ Louis Marie Garant
The Garant Legacy Passes Forward
Louis-Marie Garant announces his departure from the company. He passes on to Garant a new vision of the company and solid business relations with customers, retailers and providers.
Distribution Centre Construction
Garant invests in the construction of a state of the art distribution center at its head office in St-François-de-la-rivière-du-sud. In 2015, the area covers 15 000 square feet and a total of 8 million $ has been dedicated to this project.
In 2010, Garant and AMES are purchased by Griffon Corporation, an investment and management company with a diversified portfolio of wholly owned subsidiaries. Today, Garant and AMES remain a significant part of Griffon’s Home and Building Products division, which has expanded to encompass Southern Patio, Northcote and Cyclone. These sister brands provide us with significant opportunities to expand our markets, particularly in planters and containers.
Celebrating 120 Years of Moving Forward
In 2015, Garant celebrates our 120th anniversary as the leading Canadian manufacturer of tools for tough outdoor tasks. We’re proud to continue the Garant family’s legacy in our quest to provide the highest quality products and services to our customers.
We also introduced a new line of snow brushes with scratch-free foam heads that remove snow without damaging cars. The brushes are a major innovation that promise to open up new opportunities for us in the snow removal tool market.