By Sophie Quesnel
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What is the relationship between a heated beehive, an antibacterial computer keyboard, and CRS protective shields? They are all made by the company Riou Glasthe European leader in glass processing, founded in 1979 in Boulleville in the Eure region.
Since then, the company has grown significantly to include a glass production unit in collaboration with Saint-Gobain south of Lyon and fourteen processing units throughout France. It now employs more than 1,000 people.
A family affair of entrepreneurs
“Creating a business opened my arms to me. When you do not have a diploma and you do not know how to do so much, you have to take your fate into your own hands” launches Pierre Riou modestly, before mentioning a career from which he will only remember the successes.
The adventure began in 1979. At that time, Pierre changed broken windows, and the whole family drove around in a Citroën van, a pipe, as it was called at the time. First development: external insulation “that no one believed in and that no one wanted”, smiles Pierre Riou. That was 35 years ago and marked the company’s progress.
Then there were the bulletproof windows, developed for Iraq, after a trip to Baghdad “to avoid harming the children in the schools”. The company also manufactures CRS protections “the ones you see every Saturday on television. I’m proud to see them”. Creepy Pierre Riou. He describes the products that come out of his factories: solar cell, connected windows, computer keyboards developed for covid, heated windows … “all these innovations are Norman and made in Pont-Audemer or Beuzeville” emphasizes this, who never forgets where he comes from.
Always one step ahead
Family manager and patriarch of the company, Pierre Riou is also a visionary: “Our past was double glazing, our future will be connected windows. This window has a lot of future, therefore you can all believe in your company with its flaws, its qualities, but the will always be up to date with a step ahead of its colleagues and competitors because over time we have become, real entrepreneurs and even a real family of entrepreneurs who are able to create businesses, able to take care of the men and women working there. ”
Today, Pierre and Christiane Riou have found it appropriate to leave control to their children, Christine and Nicolas. Thus, a few days ago, the founding couple passed the torch on to the new generation during a moving ceremony in Deauville. “What a pleasure to pass on my baby to Christine, Mrs. President, and to Nicolas as administrator. It’s happiness. The joy of seeing the company remain in the family. My blood family, but also my heart family: all of you who are present or in the factories behind your screens. You who have followed me for these 40 years. I can never forget you. It is ingrained in me. “
While his children followed him, Pierre Riou already saw his grandchildren take an interest in the company “The third generation is already there, especially through an annual meeting on the company’s topics. Its flaws, its qualities, what to do. They have given us their opinion as children for years because Nicolas instilled in them the entrepreneurial spirit. »
Pierre can safely set off for the southern latitudes, where he has decided to spend his retirement in the company of the one who affectionately calls “Madame Riou”. After 43 years of work, his company has a bright future ahead of it. “I have been working for 3 years,” Pierre Riou concludes. I never had any diplomas. Never. My only diplomas, I had them thanks to all of you who made me grow with a word, a consolation, an idea … ”
Self-taught, full of common sense, brave and altruistic, Pierre Riou still sometimes wonders how he got there. When we listen to him, we have the answer.
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