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GB Micro Solange Dugas

Communication, technologie & Technologie de l'information


Founded in 1983, GB Micro Electronics has built a solid distribution network of products including flash memory, computer memory, storage products and consumer electronics. Supplying both retail chains and computer resellers across Canada, Solange Dugas and her team rely on a relationship of trust with their clients thanks to a turnkey service and a diversified product line.

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The genesis...

Seizing the occcasion

At the end of the 1980s, a combination of circumstances confronted Solange Dugas with a choice. She did not know it at the time, but the decision to embark on the GB Micro adventure would change the course of her life.

In the 1980s, the first personal computers are manufactured on a large scale. In 1983, two associates seize the opportunity to launch GB Micro, which will operate in the field of random-access memory (RAM) and the brokerage of electronic components, which were in short supply on the market at that time. 

Their target clients are the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) who need components for motherboards, as well as computer resellers who sell to businesses and individuals.

In order to take the market by storm, offices are set up in Toronto in 1985. 

As for Solange, she has made a career in Montreal with West Chemical Products, after having held marketing positions in Montreal and Calgary with Canadian Pacific Railway.
In 1987, she is given the opportunity to replace one of the two associates, who decides to retire from the company to pursue another project.

 I had to make a decision: to seize this opportunity or not ? 



It is a risky bet: stay with an established company or start from scratch at GB Micro, a start-up with five people. “I decided to take the plunge.” At the age of 27, Solange has a big year: a wedding in August, her arrival at GB Micro in October and her first pregnancy in January 1988.

The idea of being an entrepreneur appeals to Solange, who hits the first hurdle six months later. The second associate also leaves the ship to start a company in direct competition with GB Micro.

 This is where the challenge really starts for me.  



Rolling up the sleeves


With a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from McGill University and a few months’ experience as an entrepreneur, Solange finds herself steering
GB Micro alone. 

 My goal at this moment is to survive. 


Mother & daughter


She surrounds herself with two experienced people in the industry and goes in head first. Her mother Anita, who is already employed by GB Micro in sales and who opened the Toronto offices, comes to help her for three months in Montreal. 

In 2022, Anita is still working for GB Micro. “She is the longest serving employee! She sells 8 Terabyte storage units!”

In 1990, with more inventory in the warehouse, GB Micro moves to a 6,000-square-foot facility. 


From allies to rivals

In 1992, GB Micro experiences an unexpected crisis. Solange, who has just given birth to her second child, loses a key representative. As if that was not enough, this former employee recruits two other representatives working at GB Micro.

 They all went to work for a small company that wanted to do the same thing we did. 

There are only six representatives left,
who must then double their efforts to develop the market and counter this
new competition.

Fortunately, the efforts pay off.  A year later, GB Micro doubles its surface area and manages to sell to large retail chains.

“We sold in-store the first USB stick that Staples bought.” 

Over time, in addition to memory, computer components are added to the product catalogue, such as motherboards, hard drives, network cards and power supplies. These products are distributed to computer resellers, who do their own assembly.

 It was the clone era. Everyone was assembling their own computers. 


Computer science

Reconsidering the strategy

At the end of the 1990s, GB Micro sets up a brokerage division with one of its major customers, Nortel, purchasing components.

However, this good move comes with a bad surprise. In 2001, Nortel is experiencing financial difficulties and eventually has to file for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

GB Micro is badly affected as it has to manage a large inventory built up in preparation for sales to Nortel.

 We lost over a million dollars. 

GB Micro tries to regain momentum, at a time when the computer and components industry is going through a difficult period. Many competitors are closing down. This context and the inventory surplus are forcing GB Micro to rethink its business strategies and activities.



In developing her action plan, Solange and her team decide to close the brokerage division. The focus is on computer memory and storage products for retail chains and computer resellers. “We’re going back to our core business.”

In the wake of this, the Toronto and Vancouver offices, opened in the mid-1990s, are brought back to Montreal, and some layoffs are carried out. However, this does not affect business across Canada. 

 We ship the vast majority of our orders to Western Canada by air and clients receive the packages the next day. 




Vision and values...

Strengths that pay off

Having relationships with numerous suppliers, computer resellers and large retail chains, GB Micro stands out for its outstanding, turnkey service and expert sales force.

In the 2000s, GB Micro distributes computer products to major chains such as Staples, Best Buy, Canadian Tire, Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Centre Hi-Fi, Jean-Coutu, etc. In addition to storage and memory products, GB Micro diversifies its activities by entering the consumer electronics, promotional and photo markets.

The company is ready to meet the demands of its clients. It can ship stock to their warehouses as well as to their stores, or directly to their consumers: “This is what we call drop shipping. This means that there is a product on their website, but they don’t have it in stock and we ship it.” Thanks to representatives who have technical knowledge, GB Micro stands out from
the competition.

The company is frequently the number one Canadian distributor for Kingston Technology, one the world’s largest manufacturers of memory and storage products.

 Our competitors are mainly multinational or American companies. 

For example, when a reseller calls a multinational company for advice, they need to know their product code, but also what they are looking for. At GB Micro, the representatives know every type of memories, every type of computers and can help clients identify the exact products they need for servers and other equipment.


Standing out



We know exactly what product the client needs based on the specifications of each computer model.

A bulletproof service

Solange knows how necessary it is to have a competent and dedicated management team.

“The opinion of each teammate is very valuable to me.”

With today’s complete sales and management team, including members who have been with the company for over 15 years, GB Micro stands out for its service. Its fill rate is over 99%, which means that the vast majority of orders are filled and that there are no inventory shortages.

One of the reasons for this is the strong relationships built up with long-standing suppliers. Between 2005 and 2021, Solange and her team win several awards as best business partners and for their quality of service.

 For us, what is important is trust. Our success is based on it. 

Known for its integrity, the team never promises products it cannot deliver and bases its decisions on the long term. “Clients trust us. That’s the key to our success.”

Some chains even cancel agreements with global distributors to do business with GB Micro, because they can be sure that all their needs will be met at the right time. They particularly appreciate the fact that GB Micro manages its inventories very efficiently.


Accounting team

2022 Convention Gr. Millenium Micro


Commitment pays off

As a mother of three children, Solange is committed to developing the full potential of the next generation. She is involved with the Vanguard Primary and Secondary School Development Fund, which specializes in students with learning difficulties.

In addition to serving on the board of directors for four years, Solange supplies the school with all kinds of computer products such as computer bags, USB cables and chargers.

She and her team also help organize the annual golf tournament, a key fundraiser for the institution.

“Two of my employees have children at this school. It’s our own way of contributing to their success.”

Since 1998, Solange has been a member of the YPO (Young President Organization). She also sat on the board of directors of Loto-Québec from 2003 to 2007 and was its president in 2008.

Over the years, she has been involved with various organizations, including the Canadian Cancer Society (honorary patron, 1995-1997 holiday festivities), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (member of the 1997 ball committee), Leucan (member of the organizing committee in 2005), the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (co-president of the ball in 2008), and the Women’s Centre of Montreal in 2015 (one of the fundraising event’s sponsors).



Changing with the times



To meet all the demands and the evolution of technology, GB Micro adds strings to its bow. With a growing range of products and a significant increase in the number of clients, the company’s premises in 2013 become six times larger than in 1990.

It also specializes in third-party logistics (3PL). Instead of buying products and reselling them, this division allows the client to be billed for the storage and have the merchandise shipped on their behalf. This is called pick, pack and ship.

 There is a big demand from people who need to store their products and have them shipped. 

GB Micro can therefore receive and store products from companies who want to keep an inventory in Canada. “One of our objectives is to develop this division.”




Good and not-so-good moves

Technology and its rapid pace of development inevitably leads to a few missteps. In 2015, GB Micro distributes smart watches at a retail price of $99.99. Far from the efficiency of today’s Apple Watch, updates to these watches are laborious. “We had a lot of returns. It wasn’t a success.”

Nevertheless, GB Micro still manages to do well, especially in the world of gaming, signing agreements with major names such as Corsair, Mushkin, Hyper X and Enhance Gaming for the distribution of headsets, keyboards, mice, speakers and soundbars.

“Our goal is to endure over time by trying to always see higher in order to make the company grow.”




Synergistic acquisitions 

Owning all of GB Micro’s shares in 2018, Solange now has both hands on the wheel to take her company to the next level. In her sights: the acquisition of distribution companies. 

Knowing that cybersecurity is increasingly a concern for its clients, GB Micro manages to acquire Documens Distribution, a security software distributor.

Patience is the key since this acquisition has been in the air for more than five years. One of the two associates, Éric Charbonneau, has even joined GB Micro to take the reins of this new product category.

This is a natural fit since Documens Distribution sells to almost all computer resellers, who buy not only storage and memory, but also antivirus software.

 We’re joining forces. These are complementary products. 

In order to stay on top of new technologies and increase her product offering, Solange plans to make other acquisitions, but always with controlled growth in mind. “When you make acquisitions, you have to integrate them. You have to make sure that in this growth, you remain profitable.”

Behind the curtain...

Loyalty in business, a guarantee of success

Part of the success of Solange Dugas’ company is the loyalty of her management team, some members of which having over 20 years
of experience with GB Micro.


Pushing the limits


Solange Dugas
President of GB Micro


Organized and focused, Solange is known as an entrepreneur who always pushes the limits. She is constantly looking for ways to improve her company’s efficiency in order to make it grow
and, most importantly, to ensure its longevity. You cannot stay stagnant in business.

She has a great deal of respect for her inner circle, who serve as a reference when she has to make decisive choices. Especially since her management team has been loyal for several years, which reinforces the confidence she has in them.


Managing boldly


Frédérick Barbe
Director of VAR/SI Team


Father of three, Frédérick places his family at the center of the most important decisions in his life. This philosophy is also reflected in his relationship with the GB Micro team, which he considers to be a family that has seen him evolve over the past 20 years. Before specializing in sales, he studied programming while working in the family business, where he was able to discover and understand the world of SME’s and its challenges. This work allowed him to become the jack-of-all-trades that he is today. 

Frédérick always makes his decisions for the good of the company, with the idea of making the best choices in this sense. Only people who do nothing don’t make mistakes. His role as director of the VAR team allows him to motivate his employees to be autonomous and to help them successfully complete their projects.


Focusing on the positive


Marilena Di Minni
Director of Retail Team


After graduating from Concordia University with a major in business statistics, Marilena joined GB Micro in 1995 as a sales assistant. She was then promoted to account manager and later to director of the retail sales division. I literally grew along with the company. 

Marilena realizes that because each person is unique, it is best to manage them according to their strengths rather than focusing on their weak points. She makes every effort to develop relationships with her clients that are based on loyalty and satisfaction. These two key strengths are enhanced when staff is motivated to provide high quality service. She believes that a fully engaged employee who has a positive attitude at work will automatically carry that attitude over into their interactions with customers. 


Working with agility


Karine Poirier
Director of Product Management and Development


At GB Micro since 2005, Karine is known for her quickness and availability. Accustomed to multitasking while remaining efficient, she has no trouble solving problems quickly, sometimes alone, sometimes as part of a team. Karine developed her business sense at a young age by helping her mother in her clothing store with product purchases and at the cash register. With a degree in public communication with a concentration in marketing and business administration, Karine is an open-minded person employees are not afraid to approach to discuss their problems, questions and frustrations. Her ability to adapt to all kinds of situations makes her a great ally. 

Like a marriage, it’s for better or for worse!

En coulisse...

Analizing with finesse


Kuk Jin Kim
Director of Finance


Kuk Jin is known for his honesty, perseverance and generosity. In both his personal and professional life, he gives his 110%. As a Chartered Professional Accountant of Quebec (CPA), he started his career in accounting firms as a financial auditor. During those years, he audited the financial statements of public and private companies, as well as governmental agencies. He quicky climbed the ladder to become Director of Finance for companies operating in the retail, online commerce and distribution sectors. His knowledge of accounting standards and operating processes give him a good analytical sense. Leadership and team spirit are strengths in my position at GB Micro.


Applying logic


Aaron Chin
Director of Operations


Loyal, honest and optimistic, Aaron is pragmatic when it comes to finding a solution to a problem. I apply logic and I don’t let emotions take over. 

He studied accounting at Concordia University before being hired at GB Micro in 1999. Aaron has worked in his sister’s high-end Sichuan restaurants. He has dabbled in everything as a manager. Such experiences tprovide Aaron with a high tolerance to stress.


Playing as a team


Kishore Daswani


Kishore joined the GB Micro team in 2009 after working for seven years in distribution in various sectors. Punctual, dynamic and meticulous, he is a team player who always listens to others and is willing to help. I am committed when it comes to finding solutions to solve problems. With a bachelor’s degree in accounting, he is appreciated for his thoroughness and attention to details. He has no trouble building relationships with suppliers and customers. The fact that he can speak French, English and Spanish facilitates transactions with them.

An outline of the future...

A controlled development


In 2023, GB Micro celebrates its 40th anniversary.
Over the years, Solange had to reinvent herself many times
as the technology sector is constantly evolving.

She is beginning to think about a succession plan, while focusing on a strategic planning process for her next five-year plan. She aims at developing software and logistics divisions, while ensuring controlled growth. Other acquisitions should also see the light of day. But first and foremost, the team will continue to offer its clients the quality of service that sets it apart.

 The most exciting thing about this is that we were able to not only endure, but also grow in a constantly changing environment.

The story of GB Micro (EN)

6620, rue Abrams
Saint-Laurent (Québec) H4S 1Y1

Publishing Director: Audrey Dallaire
Author: Erwan Guéguéniat
Translator: Frédérick Poulin
Graphic designer: Liliane Racine
Graphic artist: Élyse Levasseur
Proofreader: Céline Chabot

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