By Staff Reports

The Boa-Franc manufacturing family announced it acquired Ten Oaks, LLC in partnership with the Williams and Birkett families.

The partnership marks the Canadian company’s first foray into the United States, according to Wren Williams, a spokesperson for Ten Oaks. He estimated there are 150 employees between the company’s facilities on Progress Dive and Dobyns Road. The workforce is mainly from Patrick County, but also includes those from Martinsville, Henry County and Lawsonville, N.C., Williams said.

Boa-Franc was established in St-Georges, Canada in 1983 and with this partnership will grow their employment to more than 700 people.

“Some years ago, we decided we wanted to expand to the U.S. platform,” Pierre Thabet, president of Boa-Franc, said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Company officials determined a successful candidate for that venture must meet several criteria, in part, it must be a good cultural fit, have a skilled workforce and a good reputation, Thabet said. “We visited many locations. When we visited Ten Oaks, we found all the key elements,” he said.

The partnership will bring Ten Oaks into the same stable of brands as Mirage, among Boa-Franc’s best known products and widely recognized as the North American industry leader in prefinished engineered and solid hardwood flooring.

Ten Oaks, which manufactures solid wood flooring, will remain a viable entity, according to Williams and Adam Birkett, sales manager.

Boa-Franc’s products, while diverse, are “all focused on wood flooring solutions,” Birkett said, adding that company’s products include solid prefinished flooring, engineered flooring and truck flooring that is installed in vans.

The partnership will provide the individual companies with an opportunity to learn new processes, officials said.

“We will be learning and finding opportunities to do things” together, Birkett said. “They bring a coordinating and complimentary knowledge to our own. I think they’re really going to bring a ton of expertise we’ve kind of had to spend time developing for ourselves, and bring a lot of knowledge for our operation.”

Thabet said he also does not anticipate initial changes.

He explained there is a two-year transitional period, and Boa-Franc will invest its time to “learn the people inside” of the local facility. He said he met local employees on Monday and all seem to be good people. “People are a very important part of our philosophy,” he added.

Also during that time, Thabet said upgrades to the company’s Information Technology (IT) and production systems are expected. “Then, we will decide to go forward. There is a learning curve.”

A release from Ten Oaks on Monday stated the company looks forward “to the many opportunities and synergies that will come along with this partnership. Ten Oaks and its employees will continue to uphold the proud local tradition of turning our majestic Appalachian hardwoods into the world’s finest hardwood flooring.”

The Ten Oaks brand “is not getting absorbed or anything. We are still selling our products to our same customers” and working with the same suppliers, Birkett said, and stressed that change is not imminent.

A team from Boa-Franc was in Stuart for the closing on Monday, Birkett said. “They’re all flying back to Canada this (Monday) afternoon. There is no set time when they may be back here. Since Ten Oaks is a profitable situation, it will continue.”

At some point in the future, Boa-Franc “will be sending down some new faces on investigative missions as we take steps forward and learn how we work together on the back end of things, but on the front end, there are no changes,” Birkett said. He described ‘back end’ items as basically housekeeping issues.

Thabet said via telephone that Boa-Franc has been in business for 36 years. The Ten Oaks acquisition is marks the third acquisition in 22 years. Both of the others were successful ventures, and Thabet said he anticipates this one will be as well.

Spirit, respect, integrity, commitment and innovation are included among Boa-Franc’s values.

“It really is a good organization,” Birkett said. “My personal belief is that they have plan to see more things happening in Stuart, not less. They will be deliberate and take prudent steps, but I think the long-term goal is growth here in Patrick County.”