By Rick Major
When you get the chance to talk to anyone connected with E. Bourassa & Sons, it does not take long before the conversation turns to the importance of family and community. It starts with the 4th generation of family members who have carried the traditions intertwined in a business enjoying yet another expansion in the network of stores now dotting communities in Assiniboia, Pangman, Radville, Weyburn and Carlyle.
It was back in January 2018 when Carlyle was first introduced to the nearly 100-year-old company at a two-day meet and greet. At the time, owner and general manager Kurtis Bourassa expressed his commitment to the local community and bringing the Bourassa brand of service and knowledge in the form of a 20,000 square-foot facility on a 20-acre site in Carlyle.
It was in 1924 when Emile Bourassa opened the first store in Radville supplying coal and wood. Later, Massey Harris, John Deere and Oliver Cockshutt farm equipment was added to the merchandise mix. Today New Holland farm equipment is a major partner along with other quality brands such as Bourgault, Morris, MacDon, and Versatile.
With the decision to open a fifth location in Carlyle, the four company partners (all great-grandchildren of Emile) have all had the opportunity to put their mark on a true family business according to Kurtis. “All four partners actually work in the dealership and the values passed down from past generations are still as important to us as they were in the beginning, almost 100 years ago.”
With a commitment to using many local contractors, Kurtis looked up at the banner on the wall as he spoke to a group of guests at the official Carlyle grand opening on October 18th. “Our company slogan is 'Where People Make the Difference' and that's really important to us. Our employees at all of our stores have close ties to family, to agriculture and to their communities.” He added that Carlyle currently has 13 full-time employees and there is room for growth. Currently Bourassa has over 130 employees.
What all share is a commitment to selling an experience and creating long-term relationships. “That’s important because we don’t just sell a product. We bring customers into our family.”
Along with $10,000 in prizes to hand out, the grand opening event was well attended under a beautiful sunny fall sky. After the official ribbon cutting, those in attendance gathered inside to view some of the farm equipment on display, visit the trade show booths set up from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well as the information sessions including Brian Perillat from Canfax, Chris Morson from Farmer’s Edge and Ken Evans along with Brady Kapovic from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. After a delicious lunch, guest speaker Jim Hopson sponsored by Farm Credit Canada spoke to the crowd. He shared his own special connection with Bourassa. “I was a teacher in Ceylon near Radville many years ago. Along with the importance of what I feel football adds to a community, it is great to see the growth of this company over the years and the contributions they make to the local economy and communities.”
What you also discover about Bourassa is their solid connection to the needs of the customers as the company grows along with them. It was back in October 2014 when Bourassa celebrated the grand opening of the Weyburn location. This new 48,000 facility also included one of two NAPA Auto Parts with their first one operating in Assiniboia. Once again at the time, Bourassa was building on what they do best – building relationships and supporting community.