Labyrinth inc.with Éric Dubé, CEO of Serres Toundra

Labyrinth inc.with Éric Dubé, CEO of Serres Toundra (3 min 04 s)

Added on May 17, 2021

Éric Dubé, CEO of Serres Toundra, talks about starting his business, some challenges he faced and how Desjardins has supported him along the way.


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Labyrinth inc.with Éric Dubé, CEO of Serres Toundra (3 min 04 s)

Added on May 17, 2021 | Desjardins Group

Note: The information between brackets describes the visual and audio content of the video that is not dialogue or narration.

[Context: This video introduces the company Serres Toundra. Throughout the video, Éric Dubé, CEO of Serres Toundra, responds to a variety of questions.]

[Background music]

[A yellow dot winds through the company name on-screen before taking place at the end of the name.]

[A marble is rolling around in a wooden maze game. Éric Dubé is playing with the game.]


[On-screen text: A chat with Éric Dubé, CEO of Serres Toundra.]

[Eric sits down on a stool in front of a yellow background in the middle of the Serres Toundra greenhouse.]

My name is Éric Dubé and I'm CEO of Serres Toundra.

[On-screen text: What three words would you use to describe yourself?]

Persistent, relentless … stubborn as a mule.

[On-screen text: Sweet or savoury?]

Both! As an entrepreneur, you need a bit of everything.

[On-screen text: Is the glass half empty or half full?]

Even if there's only a quarter in there, you have to see it as full!

[Éric starts playing the game.]

Let's go!

[The marble falls in one of the holes. Éric looks disappointed.]

[On-screen text: How did you come up with the idea for Serres Toundra?]

It happened by accident. I was having dinner with the mayor of the city. He was telling us that one of his dreams was to have greenhouses in Saint-Félicien.

I went online, took a look at what greenhouses were, first of all, and what was happening in this field in Quebec. I quickly realized that we were really behind and that the Dutch were the best in the world. So what we did is we went to Holland to really understand. And then we came back with the idea of starting Serres Toundra.

[On-screen text: Why cucumbers?]

There wasn't really a cucumber industry in Quebec: 95% were being imported from Mexico or Spain.

[On-screen text: Your cucumbers … what do they have that others don't?]

We really put a lot of emphasis on quality. And speed, too. In less than 48 hours, the cucumbers are on supermarket shelves, versus the two weeks it can sometimes take when they come from Mexico. We really wanted a cucumber that tastes like the garden.

[Éric drops the marble into the maze, then starts playing.]

Here we go!

[The marble rolls around the maze, then Éric looks up at the camera.]

That didn't last long.

[On-screen text: What three words mark the beginning of Serres Toundra?]

Chaotic, hell and … end of the world?

[On-screen text: What happened?]

As soon as we started to go into production, we were hit with a labour shortage. It was day one, and we were already behind. We said, we have to kill a third of the greenhouse, or we'll lose it all. We saw a light at the end of the tunnel, and then, bang! A virus came along and killed a third of a greenhouse.

[On-screen text: How did you get through it?]

[Desjardins gave us a chance by helping us renegotiate some agreements with the government. So we were lucky to have open-minded people who believed in us.

[Éric starts playing with the maze again. The marble rolls around the maze.]

Once you get used to it, you can go faster …

[The marble falls into one of the holes. Éric exclaims.]

[On-screen text: What's it like to have Desjardins's support?]

We talk with Hélène every week. It gives us a confidence boost. Because we know that these people are there to help us.

[On-screen text: Can you give an example?]

We do business with foreign workers. It isn't easy with bank transfers, bank accounts. Desjardins handled all of that.

[On-screen text: What do you get out of this relationship?]

It's something that can't really be explained. You can just tell that these are people who know their stuff. They won't run away at the slightest bump in the road. They're real partners. Today, they're like family.

[On-screen text: And how's business now?]

We're seeing really rapid growth. In less than 5 years, we went from zero to 85–95% of the market share for cucumbers in Quebec.

[Éric is playing with the game. The marble goes further through the maze, but eventually drops into a hole.]

Ok, I'm going to get it this time. I'll make you proud …

[The marble falls into one of the holes. Éric exclaims.]

[On-screen text: What are you most proud of?]

To have redefined the industry and be able to say, "Look, in Quebec, we can build large-scale greenhouses, like anywhere else in the world."

[On-screen text: What does it take to succeed?]

Anything is possible! It takes perseverance, it takes a good idea, and it takes will power. But that's really what Toundra has shown. With a good foundation, you can do anything.

[Éric tries again with the maze game. The marble goes further through the maze, then makes it to the end.]

There, got it! Pretty easy. Easier than starting Serres Toundra, I can tell you that!

[Éric is seated in the middle of the Serres Toundra greenhouse, holding the maze game.]

[On-screen text: Desjardins Business logo]

[Music stops. The Desjardins jingle plays.]

End of text transcript