In 1932, in the midst of the Depression, Harry Diamond sold the family piano and started his own business making corrosion-resistant stovepipes. A few years later, he shifted to specializing in commercial kitchen equipment. In all the decades since, the Laval‑based manufacturing company has never once stopped innovating.
Each new generation that takes over leadership of the family business has invested in projects to help the organization grow and break into new markets. Today, Custom Diamond is the preeminent Canadian manufacturer for commercial kitchen equipment, counters, tables and refrigeration units. The company is internationally renowned, with customers throughout Canada, the United States, the Caribbean and as far as the Middle East.
Investing in growth and change
The Diamond family has never shied from re-examining its practices and investing in equipment that will give them the flexibility they need to develop their business. For four generations, the key to the Diamonds’ business philosophy has been staying on the cutting edge of technology with enough agility to innovate and grow.
Custom Diamond has achieved this by surrounding itself with proactive financial institutions that can provide the support it needs. For nearly 15 years, they have found in Scotiabank and its partner companies the solid support they need to make the company’s dreams come true.
For manufacturers, equipment is key. If you want to stay competitive, you always need to be modernizing and you can’t be afraid to revisit your action plans. Our company has been around for nearly 90 years and our business plans are always up for debate. It’s like with chess: if you want to advance, you always need to think two or three moves ahead and have confidence in what you’re doing. This approach is how we’ve stayed flexible enough to keep the business growing, even during the toughest of times."
From millwork furniture to plexiglass sheets
Custom Diamond was able to adjust to the pandemic with astonishing speed, a sign of just how much freedom and adaptability a business can gain from cutting-edge equipment.
In 2019, with the support of Roynat Capital, Custom Diamond invested nearly $3 million into the purchase of numerical control machines. This equipment was originally used to make wooden furniture, but it allowed Custom Diamond to pivot, in a matter of weeks, to manufacturing protector shields.
Being able to put out these products helped the company to not only meet an emerging market need, but also keep its employees working. Custom Diamond facilities in Laval have been cutting plexiglass for months now and, at peak, operations were running 24/7.
Visionary business leaders
Always on the lookout for market trends, Hilly Diamond spotted another opportunity brought about by the pandemic: grocery cart disinfection. Hilly put the company’s R&D department to work creating a device with an electrically controlled infrared detection system for disinfecting grocery carts, as well as other carts, trolleys and dollies for malls, airports, train stations, and more.
Hilly and Ron weren’t afraid to ask questions and iterate. This approach and the boldness of their vision helped the business diversify and quickly seize on market opportunities, taking advantage of shifts in the economy. In a changing environment, being able to adapt is a huge strength for a business."
“The fact that Custom Diamond can transform so rapidly to meet the needs of the moment is a major advantage for the company, in that it can easily break into new markets” agreed Philippe Bérubé, Senior Relationship Manager with Scotiabank. “The system Custom Diamond developed during the pandemic for disinfecting shopping carts is a prime example.
As our economy recovers, we’re going to need businesses that, like Custom Diamond, aren’t afraid to innovate, modernize and reinvent themselves.”
Choosing the right financial partners
Ron and Hilly Diamond believe that you can treat anything as an opportunity for action and growth. Risk taking is important, but you only want to take calculated risks.
We’re well aware that an ill-advised decision could directly affect our 75 employees and their families,” says Hilly. “That’s why it’s so important for us to be able to count on the support of our financial partners. It’s a major factor in our success.”
For several years, Custom Diamond has worked closely with Scotiabank and Roynat Capital to shape the company’s business strategies. Philippe Bérubé sees Custom Diamond as the perfect model to inspire other Quebec businesses. The company is truly something special: not just because it’s a family business passed down over four generations, but because of its captivating leaders, who make the business what it is with their open-minded attitude and dedication to their employees.
Visit diamond-group.com to learn more about Custom Diamond.