“Targray: High Tech’s Hardware Store”


 

La Presse article by Stephane Champagne, originally published in French in 2010

Targray isn’t afraid of challenges! The Kirkland company fully expects its sales to reach $1 billion within the next 10 years. For President Andrew Richardson, this is a perfectly realistic goal. In fact, the 39-year old businessman gave himself 10 years to grow the company’s sales from $10 million to $200 million. He and his team did it in only six!

Targray is one of Montreal’s best kept secrets. The company, which currently hires 90 employees (45 of whom are scattered here and there around the world), presents itself as the world’s largest full line supplier of materials and consumables used in the manufacture of optical media (CDs and DVDs). The company is also a major supplier of raw materials and consumables for the solar industry, more specifically, photovoltaic products.

Targray stocks polycarbonates, silicon, silver paste, filters and molds on all five continents to then resell them to suppliers in the four corners of the globe. In other words, it’s a hardware store for the high-tech industry. Its main competitors are in Europe and Asia. “But no-one provides a range of products as comprehensive as ours,” states Andrew Richardson, head of the family-owned, closed capital company that boasted sales of $250 million in 2008.

More Than a Material Supplier

What differentiates Targray from its competitors? “We’re much more than just a supplier. We’re the link between the raw material manufacturer and the final product manufacturer. We provide end-to-end solutions,” added the McGill B.A. graduate who says he learned the business from his father, Thomas A., who founded the company.

It was fascinating to hear the President of the Montreal-based business explain how he increased the company’s sales 25-fold by reading Jim Collins. The American author of From Good to Great writes that, in essence, in business, you have to set very ambitious goals – “big hairy audacious goals!”

In 2001, Andrew Richardson and his father realized that the CD and DVD market would soon reach its peak. In other words, to ensure Targray’s continuity, they had to diversify the company’s activities. The Richardsons had the brilliant foresight to become suppliers of photovoltaic products for the solar industry. Currently, the Targray’s solar sector represents nearly 70% of the company’s activities.

To attain one billion dollars in sales by 2017, the Richardson family and its small team of thinkers will attempt to use the same strategy that brought it success in the past, that is, focus on promising growth sectors. But Andrew Richardson would rather not reveal too much about his business strategy.

We also learned that the Kirkland company would like to do business with high-tech sectors that are growing by at least 20% a year and have hundreds of manufacturers – which means the automobile industry is excluded outright, remarked Andrew Richardson.

Targray was created in 1984 in the Richardson’s Beaconsfield family home. Its name was inspired by the initials of its founder, Thomas A. Richardson (TAR) and Andrew’s grandfather’s first name, Graydon (GRAY). In 1997, Targray’s growth increased dramatically when the company entered into an agreement with giant Dow Chemical to sell polycarbonates. In fact, it was Targray that led Dow to become interested in solar energy, reports Andrew Richardson.

The Quebec business includes some twenty sales offices and warehouses north of the equator – in Mexico, Korea and Germany, to name only three. Its largest facilities outside of Quebec are in India and the Czech Republic.

Last fall, Targray settled into its new location on the 40 West in Kirkland. About the same time the company moved to its new facilities, both its immediate neighbours, Titon Electronic Systems Ltd. and Via Systems Canada, closed their doors. Could Targray’s arrival mean a new start for the area?

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