Eddy Savoie, a great builder
Owner, and founder of the large and beautiful family business Les Residences Soleil, Mr. Eddy Savoie is part of the pioneering concept of Residences for Seniors that we know today across Canada.
For Eddy Savoie, business success is about more than just running a profitable enterprise. In fact, it’s mostly about building something that will play a pivotal role in people’s happiness. And when it also makes it possible to involve family members, it becomes a privilege!
The Savoie family has built and now owns and manages several residences for seniors in Québec. One of their priorities is to have residents and employees share their pride and joy at being members of such a big family!
This is what makes Eddy Savoie happy. When speaking of his family, he does so in a simple and candid manner, and his eyes never cease to sparkle. Eddy Savoie is passionate about his work, and thanks his wife and five children for having joined Groupe Savoie, thereby providing him with yet another compelling reason to continue doing what he does.
As he emphasizes: “Our challenge is to improve the quality of life of seniors while contributing to our society. The opening of a Residences Soleil residence in a particular region brings benefits to the municipalities involved through job creation and by concretely improving the quality of life of all seniors in the neighbourhood. When we move forward, we basically force others to follow step.”
Eddy Savoie’s career
Extract from Commercial Real Estate Magazine
Like any real self-made-man, Eddy Savoie started from nothing, with less than $ 5 in his pocket to go to Montreal, a big city that could offer this young man of 15 years old a bright future. In his luggage, he carried with him solid values inculcated by his father, a woodcutter, and his mother, who, in addition to raising his eight children – four of whom died in infancy -, held a small general store at home.
When he arrived in Montreal, he found a job in a factory before working as an apprentice. In the evening, he followed various courses. His dream: becoming a contractor. “You know, in New Brunswick, only one person controlled everything: Irving. I did not want to be at the mercy of anyone, and work did not scare me. “
At the age of 28, he launched his general construction business, which carried out major real estate projects. Among other things, he built large rental buildings and got involve in the expansion of the Royal Victoria Hospital and the construction of the ”Maison de la culture Mercier” in Montreal.
The invention of a concept
It is the family spirit very dear to this man who is at the origin of the real estate empire that he built with Les Residences Soleil.
In the late 70s, Eddy Savoie’s parents lived in the couple’s residence in Mont-Saint-Hilaire. With his father’s health declining, the entrepreneur decided to settle his parents in an seniors residence. He and his family went to the research of a comfortable and safe residence, offering all the services, activities and care needed, but they couldn’t find one.
The idea of creating a residence appeared in Eddy Savoie’s mind. He then travelled multiple times in Europe in the hope of discovering innovative ideas, but without success. Convinced that there was a market in Quebec for a residence concept that combines quality of life and safety, he passed to action mode.
The entrepreneur bought a land in Boucherville and financed the construction of his first residence through the sale of two large rental properties, Terrasses Villeneuve and Place Nobert, in Longueuil.
Les Residences Soleil Manoir Boucherville, the first Residences Soleil cost ten million dollars and was inaugurated in November 1988. Eddy Savoie acknowledges that its launch was difficult. “The concept was not known and was not part of the mentality of people. Fortunately, we continued to make other construction projects and we were able to make up the shortfall.” Two and a half years after the opening of the residence, the occupancy rate finally reached 95%.
Eddy Savoie then decided to extend his model of residence for seniors in different Quebec cities by focusing on volume. .
As a builder, owner and manager, Groupe Savoie now operates 14 residences. It employs more than 2,000 people, including those working in the construction business. First criterion of hiring in its residences: “to love golden agers”, specifies Eddy Savoie.
Accessibility for all
In the Residences Soleil Manoir Boucherville’s hallways, where the Group’s headquarters are located, Eddy Savoie welcomes each of the residents we meet and addresses them by name. “Not long ago, I attended all the parties organized to celebrate the anniversaries of the month in each of the residences. In each residence, a committee of residents, elected at the annual general meeting, organizes activities, in collaboration with the management. At this meeting, parents and residents can also share their grievances. “We are always open to constructive criticism,” says Eddy Savoie.
Aware of the financial precariousness of several elders, Eddy Savoie made a cause. “I’ve known this, being poor,” he said during the interview. In the early 2000s, he was involved in a struggle with the RQRA (now known as the Regroupement québécois des résidences pour aînés), which ended with the creation of a provincial tax of 23% favoring the maintenance at home of people aged 70 and over, rich or poor. “In our homes, 33% of people receive a shelter allowance, which means they earn less than $ 16,000 a year,” says Eddy Savoie. With these credits, residents can afford to stay in a 11/2 or 2 1/2 which make up between 25 and 30% of apartments in each residence.
In total, more than 7,000 people, whose average age varies around 83 years, live in Les Résidences Soleil. Nineteen of the 52 centenarians benefit from the Privilège Soleil program, which offers free accommodation to the resident who has reached 100 years of age and who has been in his apartment for at least 10 years. Moreover, a resident who has been staying in the same apartment for at least 10 years receives no increase in rent when he blows his 90 candle.
We reap what we sow
With a third generation already at work and a 4th generation that has just been born, the Groupe Savoie has the wind in its sails.
At 71, Eddy Savoie does not plan to retire, because for him, his work is not. The victim of a serious snowmobile accident three years ago and two strokes last October, he remains active, although he admits to have slowed down a bit.
His Consumer Choice awarded business, also recognized as one of the Best Managed Companies in Canada for now 12 years, “will never go public, because I do not need capital,” said Eddy Savoie. And there is no question of selling either. “I received offers, but I always refuse. Our family business generates jobs, creates wealth and pays taxes here. People should think about it before criticizing, “says the businessman.
“Sometimes I’m told,” You picked up an empire. I did not pick it up. Mathematically, it has been conceived by itself. We were able to sow and harvest. “
A big beautiful family
In addition to having an inner drive and highly developed business acumen, company founder Eddy Savoie has successfully passed on his values to his children. The business’ daily activities rest on the guiding principles of trust, loyalty, a healthy respect for a work-life balance, love and, last but far from least, honesty.
These constitute the foundation on which Groupe Savoie built what is now the largest family-owned private company in the seniors’ accommodations sector in Québec.
An ongoing challenge
Despite these impressive achievements, Eddy Savoie still diligently oversees the business and plans to ensure its continued growth, particularly since the company’s future leaders are already part of the family. Nataly Savoie has been the Executive president of Residences Soleil for a number of years, and Eddy Junior Savoie is President of the organization’s Construction division. These resources are a guarantee of continuity. People who spend time with members of the Savoie family immediately understand that their passion is unstoppable!
A comfortable life
Residences Soleil has set itself apart by the variety and sheer number of recreational activities offered in its residences. Swimming pool, spa, hair salon, library and chapel are but a few of the amenities offered in all Residences Soleil residences. As Eddy Savoie proudly states, for residents, “ it’s really like staying at a hotel!”