In 1925, Zéphirin Laroche and his father Wilfrid asked a question that would change the course of their lives: why not create our own foundry? A few months later, metal was poured for the first time at Z. Laroche Foundry. At the time, the team was rather small, and Zéphirin’s brothers would assist every weekend to help with production. During the first year of operation, sales were favourable. The foundry was proving a profitable venture! Starting from scratch, the Laroche family was able to lay a solid foundation for a company specialized in producing and selling cast iron parts.
Four years later, in 1929, the facility operated 6 months a year and employed 5 workers. In those early years, production comprised mostly construction materials (components for agricultural machinery, wood stoves, etc.), but business quickly picked up and Zéphirin’s brothers: Charles-Henri, Toussaint and Joseph-Ferdinand joined the company, which became Z. Laroche Foundry & Brothers. From 1938 to 1945, the company nearly doubled its workforce from 8 to 15 employees, and began to operate on a year-long basis.
In 1945, thanks to sustained growth, the company decided to expand its facility. Shortly thereafter, the Foundry’s market expanded to many different areas, from Lac-Saint-Jean to Sudbury, yielding prosperity for the company. In 1962, in order to accommodate increasing demand and maintain its growth, the Laroche Foundry built a new facility at its current Chantal Street location in Pont-Rouge, QC. During that same decade, the foundry branched out into manufacturing products for municipal infrastructure. Between 1945 and 1966, its workforce grew to 34 employees. In 1975, the Laroche brothers added a patternmaking facility to their location and set out to mechanize their operations. To ensure that the company remained competitive, new molding technology was implemented and replaced traditional methods.
On January 13th, 1976, on a glacial winter morning, a third of the foundry was destroyed by a fire. Thankfully, the greater part of the facility was saved by a fire guard. Following this tragedy, brisk rebuilding efforts were carried out to meet the demand and sustain the company’s existing clientele. Reconstruction lasted 4 months. During that same year, Laroche Foundry began to export to the New England area, bringing its business South of the border.
In 1981, after decades of service, the four Laroche brothers passed on the torch to their respective sons Jean-Pierre, Bernard, Jacques, and Claude. A few years later, this new generation of leaders took the crucial decision to invest two million dollars to purchase electric furnaces that would replace their old cupola furnaces. This new technology allowed the company to further increase its production and thus its competitiveness. Following the turn of the century, the Laroche brothers acquired an ISO-9001 certification, ensuring quality at every step of the manufacturing process.
Since 2013, the foundry has been led by a fourth generation of entrepreneurs: Jean-François, Éric, Xavier, Ghislain and Jérôme. In 2015, the facility, which hosted over 80 employees, entered a new phase of expansion to accommodate a new automatic molding line, DISA® Match 20X24, which was installed in the summer of 2016. Laroche Foundry is the first manufacturer in Canada to own such an innovative machine, which entirely automates mold production and allows the company to manufacture parts of even greater quality.