The story of Imprimerie Gauvin
Imprimerie Gauvin, Hull’s first genuine commercial printing business, opened in November 1892 in the house of its one and only director, Georges Elzéar Gauvin. While the company’s core business was printing commercial documents, Georges Elzéar also edited and printed a few books.
In 1900, the Gauvin building was destroyed in Hull’s Great Fire. The company then moved to 8 Leduc Street, where it remained for 117 years.
Joseph Royal Gauvin, one of Georges Elzéar’s sons, became his father’s partner in 1934 and took charge of the company when his father died in July 1945.
In September 1957, Joseph Royal’s son Robert Gauvin joined the business. Having learned typography from a master (his father), he received further training from Kodak in Rochester. Robert was the one who introduced the direct lithography process. His brother Jacques also joined the business, and major expansion followed. A new wing was built in 1963 and thirty people were employed by the company in 1964. Jacques left the company to continue his career in administration and publishing for a variety of public corporations.
The business was managed by Robert with his wife Georgette and his father, and when Joseph Royal died in 1984, Robert succeeded him as the company’s president and owner. Meanwhile, Robert and Georgette’s son André Gauvin, Bachelor of Administration, had joined the family team in 1983. André computerized the business and implemented the direct approach with customers. Today, he is the company’s executive director. His spouse Marie-France Forgette, who joined the team in 1990, is the director of the prepress department.
The market for commercial printing changed dramatically in the 1990s. The company lost many of the government contracts that had provided a major part of its revenue. After more than a century in business, Imprimerie Gauvin was forced to develop a new strategy.
In 1997, Imprimerie Gauvin began to print books, doing business with local publishers. Word got round as the company gained experience and became known as a printer of quality books. Within a few years, its order book was filled by publishing houses from all over Canada. Imprimerie Gauvin had now established its reputation in the book market.
In 2009, the company bought its first digital press. Using this technology as a complement to its offset printing, Imprimerie Gauvin was able to maintain its position as a key player in the short- and medium-run book printing market.
In 2010, for the first time, Imprimerie Gauvin shipped an order to a publisher located in Seattle, Washington, in the United States.
Digital printing was proving successful at a time when customers were beginning to reduce their print runs. Imprimerie Gauvin increased its production capacity with new digital presses in 2014.
Francis-Olivier Gauvin, son of André and Marie-France, officially joined the production team in 2015 and continues to hone his knowledge of how books are made.
In late 2017, Imprimerie Gauvin left its premises at 8 Leduc Street for a large-scale workshop at 184 Jean-Proulx Street in Gatineau. To sustain its growth, the company acquired high-performance equipment and doubled its production capacity.
Imprimerie Gauvin’s print-on-demand service was launched in 2018. A new range of services was inaugurated along with an interface designed for book publishers: the new GoLibroTM trademark.
Today, book printing represents over 90% of Imprimerie Gauvin’s sales, and the company employs over twenty-five people working full time.