Imprimerie Gauvin, Hull’s first genuine commercial printing business, opened in November 1892 in the house of its one and only director, Georges Elzéar Gauvin. While the company’s business was printing commercial documents, Georges Elzéar also edited and printed a few books.
In 1900, the company's original building was destroyed by Hull's Great Fire. The Imprimerie then moved to its current location at 8 Leduc Street.
Joseph Royal Gauvin, one of Georges Elzéar’s sons, became his father’s partner in 1934 and took charge of the company when his father died in July 1945. In September 1957, Joseph Royal's son Robert Gauvin joined the business. Having learned typography from a master (his father), he received further training from Kodak in Rochester. Robert was the one who introduced the direct lithography process. His brother Jacques, Bachelor of Administration, joined the business, and major expansion followed. A new wing was built in 1963 and thirty people were employed by the company in 1964. After a few years, Jacques left the company to continue his career in administration and publishing for a variety of public corporations.
The business was managed by Robert with his wife Georgette and his father, and when Joseph Royal Gauvin died in 1984, Robert succeeded him as the company's president and owner. Meanwhile, Robert and Georgette’s son André Gauvin, Bachelor of Administration, had joined the family team in 1983. André computerized the company and implemented the direct approach with customers. Today, he is the company’s executive director.
The market for commercial printing changed dramatically in the 1990s. The company lost many of the government contracts that had provided a major part of its revenue. This reality forced Imprimerie Gauvin to modify its strategy after more than a century’s existence.
In 1997, Imprimerie Gauvin began to print books, doing business with local publishers. Word got round, the company gained experience and became known as a printer of quality books, and within a few years, its order book was filled by publishing houses from all over Canada. Imprimerie Gauvin had now established its reputation in the book market.
In 2009, the company bought its first digital press. This technology is intended to complement offset printing, ensuring that Imprimerie Gauvin remains a major player in the short- and medium-run book printing market.
In 2010, for the first time, Gauvin shipped an order to a publisher located in Seattle, Washington, in the United States.
Book printing represents over 90% of the company’s sales, and today Imprimerie Gauvin employs a staff of some twenty people working full time.