A Foundation Of Success Built Across Canada Created With A Unified Front And The Strength Of Family
VANCOUVER ISLAND – Jean-Louis Denux’s immigrant experience is the foundational element of his family’s business.
Arriving in Canada from France in 1970, Jean-Louis married his wife Diane and settled in Quebec City to raise five children, Eve, Francois, Nicolas, Sophie and Marie. During this time, he was a computer programmer for the University of Laval, while Diane worked in nursing.
Still, the ambitious couple wanted something more. Diane and Jean-Louis longed to earn a living while enjoying the freedoms of entrepreneurship. Together, they made the leap and purchased several centuries old residential duplexes in Old Quebec City. After determining rental income could support their family, they resigned their positions and threw themselves full-time into real estate.
In 1984, Jean-Louis and Diane sold their Quebec investments and moved to Vancouver Island, purchasing several multi-residential properties. Over the years, the Denux family continued to diversify, next investing in retail properties. Reaching back to his roots, Jean-Louis eventually purchased office buildings near Montpellier, France in 1996.
A family business, the Denux children played their parts in growing the company profile as well.
“In 2003, we expanded in Montreal, acquiring several large concrete high-rise apartment buildings,” explains Sophie. “Eve, Marie and myself were living there, and joined the company full-time at that point. Francois and Nicolas were already managing the BC portfolio.”
And still, the family continued to diversify the business, launching their first construction project in 2005, an office building in Montpellier. By 2010, the Denux clan was purchasing industrial, commercial and retail units in Calgary.
In 2013, they built their first multi-residential building in Nanaimo, followed by a small-bay industrial property groundbreaking in 2018, with a sister site in Calgary.
Notes Eve, “New construction on Vancouver Island has flourished, with an average of one new multi-residential building per year built by our group. We are currently completing the first new multi-residential building in Nanaimo to offer below market rents using the CHMC Flex program.”
A less tight-knit, family-centric enterprise with such a multitude of moving parts might struggle under the weight of its responsibilities, particularly after losing the patriarch of their company. When Jean-Louis sadly passed away in 2008, all properties were split into six independent companies amongst the five siblings, their spouses and Diane. Rather than drifting apart after this new arrangement, the companies pulled together under the umbrella of Groupe Denux.
“Since the transition to the second-generation, even with each company remaining financially separate, we have succeeded in remaining strong as a group, and continue to expand,” elaborates Marie. “We share offices, resources, and knowledge. We realized long ago that family is important and the key to success is communication, collaboration and focusing on the big picture.”
This philosophy extends across the family-run entities to their employees, of which they have over ninety between BC and Montreal, with three full-time in Montpellier.
Explains Marie, “Our strength is having a diverse class of assets in numerous markets, where we live or have lived, and in which we are active and know well. Internally we are a hands-on property management team. We offer a collaborative and respectful work environment, and have confidence in our on-site managers. We encourage them to manage each property as a small business. Because of this philosophy, many of our colleagues have been with us for ten-plus years.”
And of course, this care and respect extends to their tenants and partners as well. Being a locally owned business in each province Groupe Denux serves, they take great pride in being responsive to tenant feedback, and maintaining long term relationships with many small business suppliers.
Notes Eve, “The Groupe has been around for many years; we intend to remain so for many more.”
Some future plans for those years to come include new multi-residential buildings in Saanich, Montreal, Nanaimo and Calgary, an additional industrial building mid-island, as well as renovating and improving some of their older properties in 2021.
Whatever their plans in the coming years, Groupe Denux will make them together, as a family, building a legacy in BC and beyond Jean-Louis would be proud of.
Platinum – Verity Construction,