PRESS RELEASE – Sherbrooke company Calimacil, specialized in the design and manufacture of foam swords, inaugurated its new premises on Deschaillons Street in the presence of its partners and employees. Facing a growing need to optimize production along with a backlog of orders five times its capacity, the company changed location and regained its team synergy within two weeks. This investment of nearly $1M gave the company’s international exports new momentum.
Patrick Lessard, Calimacil, Josée Fortin, Sherbrooke Innopole, Paul Proulx, CPIB
The steps the company had taken to optimize, innovate, and diversify led to growth that could only be supported by expanding operations to a space more than three times larger, going from 8 500 sq. ft. to 30 000 sq. ft. “To maintain our position as a leader in live action role-playing, we had to improve several work stations, and think outside of the box,” explained Patrick Lessard, President-CEO, and Director of R&D. “With the development of new products, like our LED Saber and CaliMotion module, we are experiencing a change in strategic direction in terms of Calimacil’s history,” he pointed out, recalling his company’s modest beginnings.
The business, with the vast majority of its sales occurring through its website, has clients around the world whom it serves through B2C specialized distribution centres in Europe, North America, and Australia.
Established in 2004, Calimacil started out in the garage of Patrick Lessard’s dad, where he made the first third-generation foam weapons (foam moulding). A partner of choice, Christian Bédard, joined the company in 2009. A web ecosystems specialist, Christian Bédard took on the task of directly selling Calimacil products by promoting the trademark, which was already recognized as a sign of guaranteed quality in terms of durability and realism.
The company experienced seven moves and expansions before settling in the former Défis SM plant, previously occupied by C-Mac. “We’ve come a long way in 13 years, and the projects keep pouring in. It’s far from over,” stated Patrick and Christian, committed to forging on with Calimacil. “Every great dream involves a formidable team, people who are hardworking, dedicated, and genuine. We are fortunate to have very talented and especially passionate employees.”
Calimacil has diversified its production with four product lines: live action role-playing (LARP), the entertainment industry, replicas of video game weapons, and the new CaliMotion electronic saber, specifically used in the famous LED Saber, Calimacil’s version of the Star Wars Lightsaber™.
This investment will consolidate 30 current jobs and create seven new positions, primarily in design, electronics, assembly, e-commerce, and production.
With the aim of consolidating jobs and firmly establishing itself in Sherbrooke, Calimacil has also offered a customized space to the fencing-pentathlon club, Escrime Pentathlon Moderne Sherbrooke. Sherbrooke’s historical European martial arts club, Arts martiaux historiques européens – AMHE, is also located there. “These two clubs are a lively addition to our company. They are like our cousins. We welcome renowned athletes from all around the world,” said Patrick Lessard, himself a fencer.
Brompton’s Comité de promotion industrielle (CPIB – industrial promotion committee) acquired the building to rent it to Calimacil. “We are offering assistance in terms of rental to and acquisition by Calimacil, which is making things easier for the company financially,” noted Paul Proulx, President of CPIB. The company is experiencing strong growth and we know that it will continue to play a role in the city’s economy, because it chose to pursue its development here in Sherbrooke, where it was created more than 10 years ago. The CPIB is proud to now support businesses throughout the City of Sherbrooke. In the past, attraction efforts focused solely on the Brompton area.”
Sherbrooke Innopole has contributed funding of $150 000 to the overall project through its Local Investment Fund, and has also supported Calimacil in developing its growth project. “Calimacil offers niche products and is always innovative while being attentive to its very targeted market,” stated Josée Fortin, Director General of Sherbrooke Innopole. “One of the strengths of Sherbrooke’s economy is its diversity, and this project proves that once again.” With its new technological platform, CaliMotion, which includes a terminal and a mobile app, the company is staying at the leading edge by joining the Internet of Things (IoT) movement. “Calimacil falls within the key sector of Advanced Manufacturing, but also has sector and cross-over experience in the field of Information Technologies, given the development of its connected objects. The director of our IT key sector has been able to provide support in terms of the steps undertaken in this regard,” explained Ms. Fortin.
Guylaine Boisvert, MRI, Sébastien Brisson, Systana, Paul Proulx, CPIB, Patrick Lessard, Calimacil, Josée Fortin, Sherbrooke Innopole, Jean-Simon Paradis Charlebois, Développement économique Canada, Johanne Grand-Maison, PRIMOM
Sources and photo credits: Sherbrooke Innopole and Calimacil