Groupe ATRIUM Marks 25 Years With Gatsby-Themed Bash

More than 300 participants, including 250 agency owners and advisors, gathered at Manoir Richelieu in Pointe-au-Pic, Quebec from 22AUG to 24AUG to mark ATRIUM Group's 25th annual convention.

To mark its first quarter-century of existence, the leaders of the network chose "The Great Gatsby and the Roaring 20s" as a theme for the evening, inspiring guests attending the Saturday night gala to don fashion statements from the Jazz Age.

A "relaxation evening" at the Bootlegger House, a "casino evening" and the usual training sessions and round tables with suppliers were also on the program of this 25th congress.

Twenty-five years ago, Sylvain Lastère, president of the ATRIUM Group, and his then-partner, Bernard Stawarz, launched the small chain of franchises "Voyages Vasco". It was only six years later that Lastère launched sister company "Gama" and introduced Groupe ATRIUM as the general overarching brand.

Sylvain Lastère, president of the ATRIUM Group.

Today, the franchise has 105 points of sale, mainly in Quebec -- 70 under the Vasco banner and 35 under the Gama brand, and is preparing an offensive on the Ontario market.

It's a venture the company had tried – unsuccessfully – to pursue in the past. But, as Lastère tells Open Jaw Quebec, this time they're taking a different approach.

"Our first attempt did not work well because it's a very different market from Quebec and we, at head office, already had our hands full with the many projects and development actions that were under way for the French market. We did not have the time to invest the energy needed to break into a market as diverse and competitive as Ontario," explained Lastère.

This time, the company wants to find a "master franchisor" who would manage the development of Vasco franchises in Ontario.

"It will have to be a person who knows the travel industry well and who will be ready to make every effort to implement our brands," he said. "We have powerful tools, notably our Soltech system, which integrates accounting into the CRM, saving counsellors and managers a lot of time. We also have other strengths and expertise, particularly in terms of websites and e-learning, that may be of interest to Ontario retailers."

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