In today’s business world, the concept of long-term success is a status held by only the foremost of companies. For many that achieve twenty-five years of ongoing success as a privately held business, this would translate to either slowing down or considering retirement. However, this is not the case for ABI (Advanced Business Interiors)—a company that continues to dominate the office interior marketplace.
With its humble beginnings in 1989, it is fair to say that the management prowess of its owners is an object lesson in business acumen. From five employees in its earliest days, the company has grown to be one of the largest in Canada: boasting seventy-six thousand square feet of manufacturing and showroom space with more than 100 employees. The fact is, for most of the National Capital Region, whether working in government, in an enterprise environment, or in a small-to-medium sized business, it is likely that the office space is a product of ABI.
After a quarter-century of experience, ABI is no stranger to market fluctuations and industry trends—an integral part of the company’s ongoing success has been its ability to weather all storms and adapt quickly to the needs of its clients. For many years now, the business world has recognized the need to be ecologically friendly and aware of how its products affect the environment. ABI is a leader in this space with its Workplace 2.0 green initiative and its Remanufacturing (Reman) Department: it has successfully diverted back into the marketplace an impressive amount of furniture that if discarded would have left harmful imprints on the environment.
Like other industries, the demands have shifted dramatically in the office furniture industry. From the now established and expected environmental aspects of office interiors, comes a focus on employees and how they interact with their space: from reducing stress to increasing comfort and productivity. Once again, ABI addressed the market need head-on with the most innovative, functional, and fashionable offerings available. Proving yet again that business prowess and agility ultimately lead to ongoing success.
And this success has led ABI to its latest venture: leveraging real estate to further expand its business to new markets and regions. With the National Capital Region market captured by ABI’s exceptional team, and with its focus on long-lasting relationships with long-term clients, the company has now set its sights on its neighbours to the East—the Quebec market with a particular focus on Montreal. However, to expand into the Quebec marketplace, ABI knew that it would need capital to fund the venture, and that it would need to prepare for the next twenty-five years. So how did ABI achieve this latest venture?
Enter Koble Commercial Real Estate & Brokerage.
The simplest of gestures can be the first step in a successful business relationship. In this particular instance, the gesture was a call from Koble Commercial Real Estate & Brokerage founder, Graeme Webster, to co-owner and president of ABI, Bill Toutant. At this time, other agents were involved and courting the ABI team. But after one conversation, Bill Toutant and co-owners David Asselin and Joel DiBartolo invited the Koble team to meet with them to discuss market opportunities, property values, and the future plans of ABI.
In 2014, ABI chose to work with the Koble team. With a plan in place the Koble team was up for the challenge: to bring three offers to the table with no association to other offers from previous real estate agents and companies. The result, three tremendous offers. However, Bill Toutant, Joel DiBartolo, and David Asselin decided to wait, opting for a pass on the offers until the time was more favourable.
Much like ABI, the Koble team wholeheartedly believes that the key to business success is firmly based on long-lasting relationships; therefore, the two parties remained in touch throughout the passing months and followed up in April 2015. With stars in alignment, Bill Toutant said they were now ready to move forward and they listed immediately with Koble.
It was at this point that Graeme Webster and Marc Morin, the Koble founders, took ABI through their comprehensive listing process, engaging the entire market where they found many interested parties who brought in many highly competitive offers. The ABI team chose the buyer who offered them the best terms and conditions and who met their short- and long-term business goals, as well as providing them with the flexibility they needed to grow their business and to build on their success.
For the buyer they were able to secure a state-of-the-art, showroom/warehouse property in excellent condition with a long-term lease-back from ABI. The final result: a fantastic win for both parties.
Throughout its twenty-five years, ABI has remained consistently profitable through economic downturns and rapidly changing industry trends. The ABI partners attribute this incredible success to their loyal and dedicated staff—many of whom have been with the company since almost the beginning.
ABI has always focused on fostering long-lasting and loyal relationships. Their approach to their staff, who through their dedication and loyalty have contributed greatly to ABI’s success, is to provide the environment and the motivation that will nurture their careers at ABI.
For the ABI partners it is the staff who have made the company what it is today. It is their continued dedicated and focused attention on nurturing customers, thousands over the past twenty-five years, that will enable ABI to proudly advance into a bright future.