July 1, 2022

How does the stone-cutting and funerary articles business, Pascal et Fils in Villedieu (Cantal), manage to remain competitive?

At Pascal et Fils, stonework and funerals are a family affair. Generations have passed and passed on the company, based in Villedieu in the small hamlet of Ribeyrevieille, since Lucien Hébrard created the business in 1945.

José Brunet and Sébastien Rolly take over the Milieu sawmill and Chadelat logging (Cantal)

At its head today, his grandson, Philippe Pascal who inherited in 1992, with his brother Franck, who died last year, the company that his parents, Marcel and Andrée, had themselves taken over in 1976. At his side, Sylvie, his wife, in charge of the secretariat on the Villedieu site where the quarry and processing workshops are located, and Isabelle, his sister-in-law, who manages the funeral complex in Saint-Flour. Without forgetting Jérémy and Nicolas, his two sons, who, in turn, joined the company, on the strength of their solid training as stonemasons.
And all of them having brought their stone to the building to develop the family know-how and diversify the activity. Starting with developing the historical activity of stone cutting with interior and exterior decoration pieces (sinks, kitchen worktops, bathroom basins, fountains, fireplaces, etc.), then enriching the funeral sector by focusing on specializing in funeral directors, thus making the small funeral goods store on rue des Lacs a veritable complex with four funeral chambers and a ceremonial room which they set up in the Montplain area.

Stonemason in Limons (Puy-de-Dôme), Pierre-Edouard Jouvet likes to bring his stone to the building

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“But we are thinking about what we are going to do for the installation of funeral monuments which my brother was in charge of. Because since his death, it’s been difficult to meet the demand and we can’t find anyone to hire. We will have to slow down and make decisions, ”explains Philippe.

€1 million invested in less than fifteen yearsThe family business, now managed by Philippe Pascal, with his wife, his two sons (here Jérémy) and his sister-in-law, employs 17 people.

The decoration and stone cutting sector, which represents 60% of the company’s overall activity, is going crescendo. Faced with this growth, and to remain competitive, Pascal et Fils initiated a major investment program 13 years ago. Initially €400,000 with the purchase of a digital machining center and a saw. Then five years ago, by acquiring a new XXL digital machining center, which offers the largest vertical capacity on the French market (1.6 m), to meet the growing demand for parts voluminous. The company also had to comply with legislation by equipping its workshops with a water recycling centre. Then last year, taking advantage of the recovery plan to invest up to €200,000 in two new debtors, one of which should be delivered by the end of the year. “But recovery plan or not, we would have bought them anyway”, assure Philippe and his son Jérémy who need to constantly develop their working tool to meet customer requirements and reach new ones. Faithful to their strengths, “the know-how, the quality of the work, the seriousness and the follow-up”, they specify: “our strength is that we are not limited in the choice of materials, that we has adapted to the demand and that we know how to do almost everything”. “And that we don’t subcontract any finished material,” adds Sylvie.

Two poles of activity. Stone cutting and decoration represent 60% of the activity; the funeral sector and undertakers 40%.
Employees. The company employs 17 people on its two sites (Villedieu and Saint-Flour).
Pierre de Bouzentès. The Pascal et Fils company exploits Bouzentès stone in its own quarry from which some 500 to 600 tonnes come out each year. She also works with stone from Lozère, Creuse, Portugal and Burgundy, as well as new composite materials such as ceramic or dekton.

Isabelle Barnerias

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