Twenty nine independent glass installers joined forces to increase their purchasing power and to offer their services to insurance companies allowing them to compete against G. Lebeau (TCGI), which at the time controlled 70% of the Quebec market.
The glass installers got together and formed a franchise network called Groupe VitroPlus. Franchisees owned 50% of the network, while the glass distributor, Malor Auto Glass, owned the other 50%. At the time, franchising helped to standardize the product range, training, and advertising.
The network began to diversify its product offering by adding auto accessories and auto-theft prevention systems. In 1992, Groupe VitroPlus was the first network to offer an immobilizer system under the SPAV name to prevent auto theft. The innovation brought the company an annual increase of 40,000 customers. Meanwhile, the Quebec auto glass replacement industry was preparing for market globalization.
PPG Canada, the leading glass manufacturer in the world, acquired GVI and Malor Auto Glass. In the years that followed, PPG and VitroPlus combined their operations and distribution centres in Quebec, enabling them to offer VitroPlus customers the highest quality glass in the industry.
A pivotal year in the development of the VitroPlus network, the new management team comprehensively increased its commitment to its business partners by instilling its business philosophy. This philosophy served as a springboard for the development of the corporate mission that was redefined as follows:
“To provide consumers with the best solutions for their motor vehicles in the areas of prevention and protection using innovative concepts and offering high-quality products and services that combine comfort with security”.
To support this mission, Groupe VitroPlus innovated its marketing strategy by offering greater depth in its products, redefining relationships with its customers, and promoting the development of new technologies.
The first co-franchising program in the automotive sector in Quebec was established between VitroPlus and Ziebart, the global leader in automotive rust proofing, paint protection, and detailing. The network then developed an ongoing training program and improved its customer service to meet the changing needs of consumers.
The new management team made firm commitments to its business partners and adopted a new philosophy - Create a partnership where everyone wins. AIR MILES® Reward Program VitroPlus/Ziebart became a major partner of the AIR MILES® reward miles program, the leading loyalty program in Canada with a membership consisting of two-thirds of the population in Quebec. To better serve our customers, VitroPlus/Ziebart developed and implemented continuing professional training for the network staff.
PH Vitres d’Autos Inc., the leading glass wholesaler in eastern Canada, and Marc Desmarais became owners of Groupe VitroPlus Inc. This association enabled glass installers to reduce the cost of their products, improve their services, and consolidate overhead. Customers benefited from the availability of larger inventory in Canada, a better installation network, and the best mobile service with 250 service vehicles available across Canada.
VitroPlus/Ziebart also inaugurated new in-store decor, designed to create a more pleasant atmosphere for our consumers.
VitroPlus/Ziebart launched its new and exclusive Securi-ClearTM Warranty, which covers any future windshield repairs with no claim to file with the insurance company.
VitroPlus won its first Maillon d’or award for “Franchisor, communications and marketing, large network”, awarded by the Conseil québécois de la franchise.
To continue expanding its network outside Quebec, the company formed a new holding company, Uniban Canada, to protect the interests of the network and ensure its strategic development. A new banner, UniglassPlus, was also created in order to provide expertise in automotive glass to customers outside Quebec. For Canadians, Uniban Canada quickly became the preferred solution for processing claims and a truly technological-driven company for all franchisees.
Uniban Canada acquired the Ziebart Canada master franchise in addition to the rights of the 28 existing Ziebart franchises outside Quebec. This transaction resulted in the UniglassPlus/Ziebart franchise. The network then had the necessary elements to expand its diversified business model throughout Canada.
VitroPlus/Ziebart won the Maillon d’or award for “Franchisor of the year, large network”, at the annual Conseil québécois de la franchise gala in Quebec. And our franchisee, VitroPlus/Ziebart Joliette, won the Maillon d'or award for Franchisee of the year, one point of sale.
VitroPlus/Ziebart and UniglassPlus/Ziebart again showed their innovative ability by becoming the first and only franchise network to recycle windshields in Canada.
Also for the second time, VitroPlus won the Maillon d’or award for “Franchisor, communications and marketing, large network”, and this thanks to its bold advertising campaigns and windshield recycling program. In addition, Jean Foucher, a franchising pioneer and Montreal (Hochelaga) franchisee, won the Recognition Maillon d’or awarded by the Conseil québécois de la franchise.
Customers can now exchange their AIR MILES® reward miles for VitroPlus/Ziebart and UniglassPlus/Ziebart products and services.
Maillon d’or award—“Franchisee, Community Engagement” — awarded by the Conseil québécois de la franchise to Yvon Beaulieu, franchisee of Montreal (Jarry), P.A.T., Pierrefonds, Montreal (Anjou) and Lasalle.
Uniban Canada, headquarters, Groupe VitroPlus Inc., won the Maillon d’or for innovation in franchising for creating its technological platform for Insurance Glass Claim Management. Today Uniban Canada is the leading automotive glass claims manager in Canada.
Also, the Conseil québécois de la franchise awarded the Maillon d’or for a young entrepreneur under 40 to Janick Thériault, VitroPlus/Ziebart Joliette franchisee.
SANSZO, co-owner with the One Drop Foundation, markets waterless washing products under the SANSZO name. VitroPlus/Ziebart is proud to launch Brigade SANSZO, an innovative financing program for non-profit organizations, across Quebec. In addition to helping these organizations to raise funds, the program aims to raise awareness of the importance of sound management of our drinking water.
Also, Molson Coors and the Conseil québécois de la franchise (CQF) inducted Joliette franchisee Janick Thériault into the CFQ Franchise Hall of Fame.
The UNL is an operating model based on healthy competition between sales outlets for the purpose of enhancing and standardizing the quality of customer experience. Supporting this model are an internal training program, mentoring, and motivational activities. The league allows for the development of best industry practices, to the benefit of our customers.
Also, the Conseil québécois de la franchise (CQF) inducted VitroPlus franchisor Uniban Canada into the CQF franchising Hall of Fame.
VitroPlus/Ziebart changed the brand positioning to better define the VitroPlus identity. This renewal was a breath of fresh air to the auto glass dealer network, including new signs, building renovations, upgraded showrooms, and more.
Also Uniban Canada won the coveted Maillon d’or Franchiseur – Innovation award for creating the UNL operating model.
VitroPlus announces the end of its partnership with AIR MILES.
Exclusive to VitroPlus this application allows a user to start a vehicle from anywhere in the world on a smartphone with no monthly fees.
Also, Molson Coors and the Conseil québécois de la franchise (CQF) inducted Yvon Beaulieu (co-franchisee of 5 stores) into the Montreal region to the CQF Franchise Hall of Fame in recognition of his community involvement.
The only antimicrobial treatment approved by Health Canada in the automotive industry, this product offers lasting protection against germs for an entire year.
Uniban is now part of the newly-created Glass vertical for Driven Brands and spearheads the growth in the automotive glass industry with its proven leadership, experience, and recognized operational platforms.
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