“Once upon a time, in 1963, there was a small ceramic tile laying business that was proud and ambitious. So proud and ambitious, in fact, that in 1967-68, it became a builder of housing units, duplexes, and two-storey houses…”
And that’s not all! Gino Melatti senior wasn’t going to settle with so little. And that’s how in 1980 he founded the Constructions G. Melatti company and started building large-scale projects of 100 to 200 housing units. Small towns within big cities!
The city of LaSalle’s Newman Boulevard is a prime example. Gino Melatti junior enthusiastically relates: “That’s something rather particular, because my dad is one of the builders that managed to develop that artery and got his hands on the development of other neighboring streets. His efforts were nicely recognized, since there is now a Melatti street and a G. Melatti parc in the projects he built. We are really grateful to the city of LaSalle for this honor; it’s such a pleasure!”
For about ten years, along with his partner, Gino Melatti senior has developed small towns within a large city. Shevchenko, Lapierre, and Dollard streets, for example, are Melatti achievements.
The Dream Continues
Gino Melatti senior started building his reputation with the Golf project in the city of LaSalle. The golf course was completed in 1987; during the fifties, sixties, and seventies, the original owner of the lot on which the golf course project was built had sold all of his parcels of land to some 20 entrepreneurs.
He then took on the Golf project, consisting in about a hundred multi-housing units, duplexes, and triplexes. “One of the biggest projects built and completed by my father, and of which he is very proud.”
Later on, other smaller construction projects were launched and brought to term with the same degree of success. “I can’t describe all of them, says Gino junior, there are too many of them!”
The project that brought the Melattis the greatest satisfaction and of which they are the proudest consists in a large-scale project containing 350 units and built in 1990, right in the middle of the last recession. “Everyone around us was saying that this was an unreasonable, even crazy challenge to take on. But you can see that it was a great success for us, and the gratitude demonstrated by the city of LaSalle reflects on our entire family.”
The project was then followed by the Shevchenko project, consisting in 300 condominium rental units.
Quality + quality = quality
Given the scope of this article, it is impossible to describe all of the Constructions Gino Melatti projects in detail. But Gino Melatti junior would like to draw attention to the most important point, the basis for the business’ philosophy: “Our mission is to provide a quality end product to our customers, in addition to a personalized service. That’s our priority. We deal with housing, condo, or cottage after-sales service requests personally, and we resolve any issues that may come up.”
Gino junior adds: “Many entrepreneurs are afraid of living on the site of one of their projects, because they don’t want to be cornered by their clients and all the negative implications that come with that. But not us! We have built our own houses right at the heart of one of our projects, and that was very important to us, because we know we deliver quality products, and the only comments we get from customers who have purchased houses around us is that they are satisfied and happy with the results.”
“So, if a client communicates with us to discuss a problem or an error, we will hurry up and take care of it. We can even ascertain what’s going on on the spot, which will save the client some time.”
Ah, respect for the client! For both Gino Melatti senior and junior, this is crucial. They will always do everything in their power to satisfy their clients, and “clients are always right! If something is not entirely to their satisfaction, and they aren’t happy, it’s probably because we didn’t do our job right. And we deal with it immediately.”
Gino Melatti junior adds: “It is really important to list all the details of the transaction, that way there will be no room for abuse, both from us and from the client; everything must be absolutely clear. That way all confusion and misunderstandings are avoided.”
Gino Melatti junior is the key contact, in the center of every transaction. If someone buys a condo or a residence and a problem arises, the client will deal with him. And if you know Gino Melatti junior even a little, it seems obvious that this problem won’t be around for very long…
“Oh no, it won’t drag on! Because if it drags, it’s going to create another problem, that is, it will create a bad relationship between the client and the entrepreneur. I learned very early on in life that when you treat a client with deference and respect, you end up with a satisfied client who will not hesitate to brag about your services.”
Thus, when a problem comes up, Gino visits the premises himself; then, he sends an after-sales service specialist. “My uncle Joe Lapenna. This business is a family affair! Says Gino, laughing. So, my uncle heads over to the site and if he can’t solve the problem, my father takes over. We’ll remain on site until the problem is resolved. After all, we have our pride: it’s our name, our reputation we’re talking about! We will do everything to make sure that the client can say that even if there was a problem, it was resolved in no time.”
We have an excellent team around us: Margaret Pereira, Rocky Isgro, Mike Mannochio, Agnes Simpson.
When you visit the Constructions Gino Melatti projects, their quality jumps out at you. You can admire buildings with exterior cladding made of heavy masonry, brick, or stone, and quality interior finishing such as imported Italian ceramic, for example.
“We offer our clientele quality turn key buildings; everything is included, there are no surprises. Nuances are very important! And our turnkey concept is always essential. For marketing and for sales, it might represent certain difficulties, but the buyer benefits from obvious advantages.”
“And, if a buyer wishes to add ‘extras’, we get them in touch with the supplier, that way they can save up to an additional 15%. That’s a clear advantage! Because it’s always the ‘extras’ that cost the most.”
Everything begins with Basile Y. Nakouzi, the architect, who works in collaboration with the Melattis, and designs the projects according to their ideas. Then, everything is scrutinized, the colors, the brick. In short, the entire project is a Melatti concept.
Unlike other construction entrepreneurs, les Constructions Gino Melatti owns a bank of important pieces of land, which allows them to plan long-term projects.
“We don’t speculate on the stock market, but we invest in the industry we know best: land, housing construction, real-estate in general. We try to concentrate our land acquisitions in the suburbs, such as LaSalle, Lachine, Verdun, des Sources Boulevard in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, and also within Montreal, because we believe in the current and future value of our investments.”
“Yes, it’s possible we might make a bad call about a future project and make a mistake. But we would manage to correct it in the end, it’s part of the ‘game’.”
When we talk about apartment buildings, Montreal’s housing problems immediately come to mind. We also think about the age group of les Constructions Gino Melatti’s target market, that is, older clients, in retirement or pre-retirement.
“Our clients have sold their house and bought a condo, for example, and they want to be able to go to Florida for two months. Mowing the lawn and shoveling snow, they don’t want that anymore, they’re done with that!”
A small town in a big city
If we go out on the town and take a tour of the Constructions Gino Melatti projects, we end up practically in the country, even if we’re just a few kilometers from Newman Boulevard. A small town in a big city… A private house in a haven of peace, a few steps from all the advantages of a big city!
“For us, it all starts with large pieces of land. That allows us to subdivide them into different lots and to design and layout the common areas in order to provide our clients with better privacy and to keep them far away from the big noisy arteries. We used a giant piece of land of more than 30 000 square feet to hide Newman Boulevard. It’s almost a resort, or, if you prefer, a holiday hideaway.”
“We want to keep focusing our operations right here in Quebec. That’s why we’re doing everything we can possibly do to preserve the pride in our name, the reputation of our business, and the quality of our product. It’s essential, because we’re going to be here for a long time. My kids are going to stay in the business, and my nephews and nieces will be able to join our ranks, if they express a desire to. That’s why we’re here to stay!”
Clearly, the Melatti clan is ‘tightly knit’. Parents Lisa and Gino senior, as well as brothers Mike, Dany, and Gino junior are all very close. Due to their unshakeable bond, they have up until now altogether contributed to the building of 7 000 housing units in Quebec!
Yes, the small ceramic tile business has truly grown up. In beauty, wisdom, and savoir-faire. It’s not surprising they’re so proud of it!