Nordik Spa-Nature: A success story

Published on October 22 2019

One comes from Quebec City, the other from Hull. They met when they were both working as special education teachers. Years later, they built the largest spa in North America (soon to become an empire of total relaxation!).

FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE SPA CONCEPT

Though their paths diverged after they’d finished their studies, Daniel Gingras and Martin Paquette stayed in touch, and when they got together, the talk often turned to business matters. One day, Martin called Daniel, now working as a strategic planning consultant, to run a project by him. Martin had recently returned from a trip to Saint-Sauveur, and he was all excited: he’d discovered the Polar Bear’s Club, the first Nordic spa in Quebec. Daniel decided to visit the spa himself, and fell in love with the concept. “When I got home, the first thing I said to Martin was, ‘I want to do more than help you: I want to come on board as a partner!’”, Daniel recalls.

The two of them put together an ambitious business plan. Over the next four years, they fine-tuned their financial infrastructure, a process fraught with pitfalls.

On July 1, 2005, the first spa in the Outaouais opened in Chelsea. “We got off to a fantastic start. It’s great to be able to say—and it’s the truth—that we’ve been in the black since our very first week of operation. We did the right things at the right time.”


THE SUCCESS OF NORDIK SPA-NATURE

What sets the Nordik apart is its broad accessibility. “At first, people came only on weekends or during high season. We wanted to engage with the local population; we wanted to be close to town, so that people would come 7 days a week, 12 months a year.”

Thanks to an offer that includes food and other complementary services, the Nordik provides a complete experience that encourages visitors to extend their stay. “Those are mainly Martin’s ideas. He’s the experience guy, that’s his strong suit,” says Daniel. Martin gets a lot of his ideas during his travels: “I like to try different experiences, and I pay attention to how they make me feel, how I react. Afterwards, I bring all that to improving our experience or coming up with new ones that are adapted to our environment, our culture and our reality.”

A WELL-MATCHED PAIR

Martin oversees the projects under construction, the technical side of things, while Daniel looks after the administrative and financial side and acts as head of marketing. “We don’t have the same strengths and weaknesses, but we have the same vision, the same goals. That chemistry is part of our success.”

Always motivated by growth, the two entrepreneurs aren’t resting on their laurels. Their ambitious goal is to open 10 spas in 10 years. “It’s exciting to have an idea and bring it to fruition, and most important, it’s very rewarding to create jobs. In 7 years, we’ll probably have between 2,500 and 3,000 employees, not counting subcontractors. That’s quite a legacy.”

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