After 23 years working for a metallurgical lab in Alberta, Canada, Richard Perrault and his wife, Dawn, decided they wanted to move to the United States. Ready to take the risk and move to an unfamiliar land, they planned to open a business in a warmer climate where they could build a nest egg and ultimately retire. This was the beginning of a journey that led them to their new life in the United States and remarkable financial success with their Metal Supermarkets Salt Lake City franchise store.
After obtaining entrepreneurial visas, Perrault and his wife chose where they wanted to live and open the store. They targeted three cities – Phoenix, Portland and Salt Lake City – and traveled there on fact finding missions. Perrault explains, “We went to Salt Lake City, which to me looks a lot like Calgary, and we found the people friendly, and they had four seasons, not a winter too cold, not a summer too hot, so we selected Salt Lake City as where we would go.”
When Perrault discussed moving and starting a business with a friend, he suggested that he buy a Metal Supermarkets franchise. Immediately, he stopped looking at other types of businesses because Metal Supermarkets aligned perfectly with his background in the metal industry. His friend’s brother owned the Edmonton, Alberta Metal Supermarkets franchise that was located right across the parking lot from his full-time job. Perrault was able to spend two weeks working in the store, “just kind of helping out and seeing … how well the business was received by the public.”
Perrault credits a great deal of their success to the Metal Supermarkets team by providing ample support and training from the start. He recalls, “At the start, they will come up with a database of names of potential clients, with physical addresses, phone numbers and all that, I believe the original list was probably a thousand possible contacts.” The corporate team also helped him choose a store location and provided plenty of promotional support. “They get involved in every bit of everything, and we had a good guideline of what we should get to start the business up, and that worked out well,” says Perrault.
Thirteen years later, the Metal Supermarkets Salt Lake City store continues to thrive and fill a need in the marketplace. “Many clients come in and tell us that they’re so happy we’re here. It’s a good feeling when a client says, ‘your store is so great. I just love to come here because usually you can help us or find what we need.’ It’s a type of business that I always wanted, where people, the client, the buyers are happy to come to your store.”
Currently, Perrault gets a fair amount of business from government contracts. “It’s almost a full-time job for me, but you see some very interesting developments. We were asked to help the Jordanian Air Force with some material they couldn’t locate, which we did eventually. It’s actually material that you’re not allowed to sell without getting special authorization from the US government, which we did obtain and were able to sell the material to the Jordanians.”
With plans of retirement on the horizon, Perrault is getting prepared, as he has done throughout his career. “I’m really spending a lot of time developing an operations manager, since I’m going to be 59 soon, so he can take on more and more and run the store, as I sit, hopefully, by the beach with a nice cerveza.”
Their decision to move to the U.S. and open a Metal Supermarkets store has proved to be a very profitable and fulfilling one. He is so confident in the company that he suggests it may even be an option for his grandchildren one day. “To me if you want to get involved in this business and you have family, get your wife involved, get your kids involved, many Metal Supermarkets are on the way, it’s perfect for that, in fact who knows, down the road, maybe my grandsons will be here also.”