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These articles were prepared for the July 14, 2004
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Celebrating Princeton’s Many French Friends
The French have always been, and continue to be, an integral part of
the Princeton scene. Twenty years ago "Frenchy’s" gas station on
Nassau Street offered help to travelers with its sign "On parle
francaise" in the window.
In the 1980s, in the reign of Mayor Barbara Sigmund, Colmar, a town in
the Alsace region of France, became Princeton’s sister city. Colmar
gave Princeton a statue, "Le Petit Vintner," which now sits on the
grounds of Borough Hall. Last week Princeton sent a delegation to
Colmar to celebrate the anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.
Four years after its founding, Ecole Francaise de Princeton, located
at All Saints Church, has 65 students, ages 3 to 10, who speak both
French and English.
The celebration of Bastille Day on July 14 – the holiday that
represents the overthrow of the French monarchy and the start of the
French republic – helps Americans remember how France supported the
United States in its struggle for independence. For years Trinity
Church held a midsummer gala with Bastille Day as the theme. Every
year but this one, Palmer Square has hosted a Bastille Day waiters’
race, with wait staff from area restaurants vying to see who could
travel fastest without spilling the champagne from its glass.
So when France’s political choices incite French bashing elsewhere,
the 5,000 French expatriates who live in the Princeton area can
celebrate Bastille Day with the support of their co-workers and
neighbors. Herewith some of U.S. 1’s French connections:
The French may have invented smokeless gunpowder, but it is more
famous for products made with a different kind of granule –
confectioners sugar, used for pastry. The American kind, say those in
the know, is like popcorn. Chefs and amateur cooks of the Martha
Stewart variety use the more refined French kind.
It is no accident that Central New Jersey boasts the United States
headquarters for two different French baking equipment manufacturers.
Native Frenchman Olivier Frot, owner FBM Baking Machines on Route 130
in Cranbury, imports and distributes authentic French ovens and
equipment such as dough mixers.
Hatsuo Takeuchi, born in Japan, trained as a chef in France and opened
the United States headquarters for Demarle Inc. at 8A Corporate Plaza,
also in Cranbury. It is the USA office of the French baking equipment
company that is based in Lille, located in northern France.
On the Internet and wholesale, Demarle sells Flexipans, non-stick,
flexible cake tins and baking trays, made from knitted glass fabric
and silicones. These flexible pans and molds bend to pop out the
products, so they do not have to be greased. Each one can be used up
to 2,500 times. Takeuchi also sells a non-stick mat, Silpat, that
costs less than silicone paper. It is used to bake Danish pastries,
biscuits, and shortbreads. His customers include hotels, pastry chefs,
Subway sandwich shops, and the likes of Martha Stewart, who recommends
his cookie liners.
Takeuchi grew up in a small town in Japan, went to school in
Switzerland, and spent five years in France, first in the Alsace and
then in Paris as a pastry chef. "I was interested in doing something
in foreign trade," he says. "I returned to Japan and worked as a
corporate chef for an import and export business, and I learned how to
import and how to export. I knew it was hard to find certain materials
in America." He started this division in New York and moved to
Cranbury in 1993.
A tribute from an enthusiastic chef appears on the website: "I have
over 100 Flexipan mats now within my facility. I use them for all
style of pastries. I use them for baking and freezing as well. Before
the opening of my pastry shop, I received so many orders from the big
companies like Louis Vuitton, Jean Paul Gaultier, that it was really a
big challenge for me to keep these high level customers satisfied and
to produce so many cakes in one go. So I did use Flexipan very often."
Four years ago Demarle merged with another baking tray company, Sasa
Industry, which has more expensive products that fit only European
As for those ovens – no self respecting pastry chef will bake in an
American oven. All the good baking ovens come from Europe, according
to Olivier Frot, of FBM (as in French Baking Machines). This importer
painstakingly differentiates between food preparation and baking
equipment. "Baking and food service – we don’t shake hands, we don’t
know each other," says Frot. "We are two breeds of people."
"In America there is no manufacturer of baking equipment," says Frot.
"Food preparation ovens go into kitchens, restaurants, and big food
service cafeterias, but the U.S. does not make anything that will
please a master baker or pastry chef. All this equipment has to come
from Europe." Some equipment is relabeled, he cautions, to appear like
it is made in America, but all is made in Europe, primarily in France,
Italy, Germany, and Sweden. "France and Italy for everything, Sweden
for ovens, and Germany for mixers and ovens." The German firm, Miele,
which has a demonstration kitchen on Route 1 North does not have
commercial ovens. "You would not find Miele in any commercial
application except dishwashers."
Frot sells his ovens and other kitchen equipment to commercial
bakeries, upscale hotels, country clubs, retail bakeries, upscale
groceries, and specialty breadshops. His inventory, most made by
Panimatic and Bongard, includes bins, silos, and bulk flour handlers;
bread & roll equipment such as molders, panners, dividers, and
rounders and croissant equipment & supplies, and more.
FBM equipped the kitchens of Chez Alice on Nassau Street (owned at the
time by Frot’s first wife). He also equipped the kitchen of the Little
Chef on South Tulane Street and the Witherspoon Street Bread Company.
A small oven for the Little Chef would cost $10,000 and the complete
kitchen equipped as a European pastry shop could be under $150,000,
says Frot. Enter Witherspoon Street Bread Company and you will see a
huge Bombard oven, worth from $30,000 to $50,000. The outfitting of a
bakery this size – including mixers, dough processing machines,
dividers, molders, proofers – would cost about $300,000. Frot
anticipates a nice sale coming from the Whole Foods Market that is
being constructed at Windsor Green.
"Executive chefs who are not baking-oriented understand the importance
of quality pastries, desserts, and bread. They buy quality breads from
the outside but will hire a pastry chef to do beautiful desserts. Now
things are changing. Pastry chefs are bringing bread into the kitchens
gradually. At the Ritz Carlton for example, a very talented pastry
chef would bring commercial bakery ovens and machinery to achieve this
Frot has put a lid on the size of his business. "We try to be under $5
million a year. It is a comfortable number for me, with the niche
market we are going after. I could hire more people. I could try to
sell cheaper stuff and go after pizza parlors and smaller mom and pop
shops, but this is not what I enjoy. We are the best within this
"We are under 10 people, and as owner and supervisor I spend most of
my time in sales. I travel as little as possible and we probably
conclude 95 percent of our sales over the phone. We are the exclusive
distributors of our brands." He has about a dozen competitors, and
except for a couple of importers on the west coast, they are clustered
in the New York and Philadelphia area to be close to the port.
Frot was born in a bakery, in a typical mom and pop shop in Paris. "I
learned everything from day one." At 21 he joined the French army and
the following year "I developed a need for freedom." In 1980 he came
to Houston, Texas, working for an oven manufacturer, and he never went
back. He came to New Jersey in 1983 and stayed, though his actual
locations have changed. He and his second wife, who is from Costa
Rica, have two children under four.
Frot and Takeuchi are in Las Vegas this week to exhibit at a chef’s
convention, where the sugar will surely fly. Frot’s company is an
equipment sponsor for the first time, and is bringing a tractor
trailer full of ovens and equipment for the World Pastry Team
Championship. He is bringing 12 ovens for 12 teams from 12 countries.
"Top top top notch," emphasizes Frot. "The U.S. team is made up of
three chefs from France, and of course there will be a French team."
Later this summer he will return to Las Vegas for the International
Baking Industry Expo.
Here’s the question. Where does Olivier Frot, the discriminating
French consumer, buy his bread? He used to go to Wegman’s, because it
was convenient and "a good source for bread in general," or to
Witherspoon Bread Company. Now, says Frot darkly, Wegman’s has engaged
in shipping partially baked bread, frozen. "I have noticed that the
quality has decreased substantially so I am no longer as loyal a
customer. I go back to Witherspoon Bread Company."
– Barbara Fox
Cranbury 08512. Hatsuo Takeuchi, president. 609-395-0219; fax,
Olivier Frot, owner. 609-860-0577; fax, 609-860-0576.
Longchamp USA is the North American wholesale and retail sales
organization for the French manufacturer of upscale, primarily leather
accessories. Longchamp products, sold only in upscale boutiques such
as Luttmann’s on Witherspoon Street, include handbags, luggage,
wallets, briefcases, pocket diaries, and gloves, as well as scarves,
ties, and some jewelry.
Marti Carroll, right, CEO of Longchamp USA, expanded her warehouse in
2001 to 35,200 feet on Route 130 North in Yardville, and it has 22
employees plus four outside sales representatives, two independent
sales reps, and an account analyst. Total parent company sales are
more than $150 million in 80 countries.
Founded by Jean Cassegrain in 1948 in Segre, outside of Paris,
Longchamp originally made leather coverings for pipes, but soon
expanded into other small leather articles. In the 1960s and ’70s the
company further broadened its offerings with a line of light-weight
luggage and a popular foldable-canvas travel bag.
Moving into the retail business in 1979, it began establishing
boutiques in the Far East and then in 1988 opened one in Paris. The
"Pliages" brand of handbags in leather and nylon came on the scene in
1993. Philippe Cassegrain took over the company from his parents in
1980 and still runs it today.
Carroll says that handbags comprise 80 percent of her business, but
Longchamp also offers three collections of luggage. Though she
presents 15 new handbag collections a year, the core of the Longchamp
business is in five areas: tumbled calfskin, nature (simple classic
lines with no hardware), Roseau (with bamboo hardware), Pliage
(folding bags) and Planete (a dressier version of the folding bags,
trimmed in same color leather). For next spring Longchamp is adding a
tennis slip-on shoe and a T-shirt to its product line.
Carroll grew up near Norristown, Pennsylvania, where her father was an
engineer and her mother taught home economics. She graduated from Penn
State in 1967 with a degree in fashion merchandising. She had a
traditional retail career, rising to group vice president of the
Federated chain before joining the French firm in 1995. She and her
husband, a civil engineer for Landmark Engineering, live in Washington
Crossing, and their son works for Intel.
Carroll’s success, she believes, is keyed to her protecting the brand
image. Her limited distribution policy runs counter to the strategy of
the Gucci and Fendi brands, which can be found on nearly every
department store shelf. She limits distribution to Longchamp boutiques
in New York, Boston, Palm Beach, Coral Gables, and San Francisco and
to upscale department stores such as Saks and Nordstrom’s. A select
number of independent boutiques are also allowed to carry the
Longchamp line. A grand opening for the company’s sixth North American
boutique, in Las Vegas, is planned for October 21.
In keeping with Longchamp’s specialty image, Carroll advertises in the
New York Times as well as magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harpers
Bazarre, W, and Elle. She has also placed her products in movies like
the upcoming remake of "Shall We Dance," a Miramax film with Susan
Sarandon, Richard Gere, and Jennifer Lopez.
Marti Carroll, CEO. 609-581-5555; fax, 609-581-5559. Home page:
With five locations in Trenton, the half-century old Hutchinson
Industries keeps armies moving. Its "runflat" devices allow vehicles
to operate even when their tires are flat, and its tire beadlocks lock
the tires to the wheel rims. Together they provide the mobility that
is critical in combat conditions.
With additional products such as military tires, wheels, and complete
wheel, tire, and runflat assemblies, Hutchinson also sells to the
security and commercial markets.
Hutchinson’s worldwide connections with France go back to 1853, when
an American of British extraction, Hiram Hutchinson, set up production
in what had been an ancient royal paper factory near Montargis in
France. In 1898 his heirs sold the assets to French investors, and the
present Hutchinson company was founded. In 1991 the fourth largest
publicly-traded oil and gas integrated company in the world, Total,
acquired full ownership of Hutchinson Worldwide.
Hutchinson Worldwide had 24,564 employees at the end of 2003, 95
manufacturing plants in 18 countries worldwide. Annual turnover was
2.575 billion euros. Hutchinson Worldwide’s principal activity sectors
comprise industrial (which includes the defense and security
division), automotive, consumer, and healthcare. In Trenton Hutchinson
has about 85 workers, and in addition to the Southard Street location
it also has sites at 642 East State Street, 84 Parker Avenue, 250
Ewing, and 106 Mulberry.
08638. Pascal Seradarian, president. 609-394-1010; fax, 609-394-2031.
Home page: www.hutchinsoninc.com (Hutchinson Industries);
www.hutchinsonrubber.com (Hutchinson Worldwide)
In the vanguard of local technological entrepreneurship, well before
the term "Einstein Alley" was even a pipe dream for politicians, the
company that was to become EMR Photoelectric (recently named Princeton
Technology Center or PTC) was established by a group of Princeton
faculty members. Later the firm was bought by France-based
As liaison from Princeton University to Schlumberger, William Happer,
professor of physics and chair of the University Research Board, is a
cheerleader for Schlumberger and PTC. Describing Schlumberger’s
overall activities in the oil industry, he says, "I think they’re the
best in the world. They do good things for their shareholders and for
the world." Halliburton, he says, is their primary competitor.
Happer talked about a particular strength of Princeton’s Schlumberger
site: "PTC makes one item that Schlumberger is famous for –
photomultiplier tubes – which are efficient ways to see faint amounts
of light. Very few people can do them as well." The word
"photomultiplier" actually describes the tube’s function – it
multiplies light. When an electron from a light source hits a surface,
other electrons come off the surface and create a current. A
photomultiplier bombards this small number of electrons to multiply
their effects in order to get readable measurements of the original
When coupled with crystals, PTC’s rugged photomultiplier tubes have
many applications, including use as detectors in well logging tools.
"Once you drill a well," explains Happer, "you have to decide at what
depth you might get oil and how much you are likely to get." Exxon,
Mobil, BP, and other oil companies pay serious money for Schlumberger
to lower instruments into the drill hole for a well. For example,
Schlumberger might recommend making penetrations at a particular depth
where there are porous rocks and hydrocarbons; they would also
estimate how much oil might be there.
Photomultiplier tubes are also used in space and, in fact, throughout
physics, anytime researchers want to detect a faint light very
efficiently. "In space," says Happer, "the photomultipliers are
detecting cosmic rays through a piece of plastic or a special crystal.
Light will be emitted and the photomultiplier looks at that light to
analyze the amount of energy in the rays." He adds that
photomultiplier tubes are used in homeland defense to keep radioactive
material out of country; these dangerous materials produce a gamma
ray, and a crystal stops this ray, emitting light that is detected
with a photomultiplier tube.
Accounts of how the company began differ, and no one from Schlumberger
would consent to an interview. As for the history of EMR and
Schlumberger, the Schlumberger website says that EMR Photoelectric was
founded in 1941 by the Schlumberger Well Surveying Corporation. The
Princeton University website says that EMR was established in 1949 and
bought by Schlumberger 10 years later.
According to the PTC website, PTC became a leading supplier of
photomultipliers used in the space program in the 1960s, and through
the late ’70s, the company had strong revenues from aerospace sales.
Business doubled when oilfield activities expanded in the early 1980s.
PTC’s current products include detectors (for Logging While Drilling
operations), optical sensors, and other sensors.
Schlumberger, PTC’s parent company in Paris, calls itself "the world’s
premier oilfield services company," employing more than 45,000 people
in 100 countries. It has two primary business segments. Schlumberger
Oilfield Services supports support oilfield development from formation
evaluation and directional drilling through the building of oil wells
as well as operational support. WesternGeco, has seismic processing
technologies to use in exploration, development, and production
environments. In 2003 Schlumberger’s operating revenue was $10.1
In 1999 Schlumberger added another layer of connection to the
Princeton area, beyond PTC. Chairman Euan Baird invited Princeton
University to develop a special relationship with the company that
promised to strengthen both Schlumberger’s campus recruiting and
collaborative research relationships with the university. In fact, at
least 30 Princeton alumni have gone to work for Schlumberger, in
particular at the Schlumberger-Doll Research laboratories in
In addition, meetings with Princeton researchers have yielded
sponsorships supporting research in concrete formulations for
wellheads, magnetic resonance, viscoelastic surfactant solutions,
enhanced decision-making in uncertain circumstances, biological carbon
trapping in the oceans, and materials research. Schlumberger has also
provided financial support for the science and engineering component
of the university’s Freshman Scholars Institute.
Schlumberger has come a long way in its development of sophisticated
measurement tools to support well logging operations. Two brothers
founded the Schlumberger Well Surveying Corporation 1934. According to
the company website, Conrad Schlumberger "conceived the revolutionary
idea of using electrical measurements to map subsurface rocks." His
brother Marcel began working with him in 1919. "Initially, it was
pretty primitive," says Happer. "They would drive stakes in the ground
and measure the resistance of the dirt where people were thinking of
drilling – it was before the days of electricity." Later, they would
transmit electric waves into the ground that a person could hear, with
someone listening and trying to understand the implications of the
As reported in the Oil Daily last month, Schlumberger CEO Andrew Gould
is expecting double-digit growth in the company’s earnings and
revenues, based on a three-pronged strategy: "First, the company
already has a strong presence in the Eastern Hemisphere and deepwater
regions, where the greatest growth potential exists." The other two
focal points are growth through technology and integrated project
management. With these and other changes in place, Gould maintains
that the outlook is for "an environment in which Schlumberger will
– Michele Alperin
Wallace Road, Princeton Junction 08550. 609-799-1000; fax,
609-897-8502. Home page: www.slb.com.
With about 60 people working in Cranbury, Somfy Systems manufactures
and distributes motors and electronic controls used in interior and
exterior shading systems throughout the United States, Canada, and
Mexico. Products that incorporate Somfy Systems’ motor/remote control
combination range from projection screens in boardrooms to retractable
awnings and rolling shutters to indoor window treatments. A rolling
screen at the Liberty Bell uses Somfy motors as do those in many
Somfy Systems is the North American subsidiary of a conglomerate based
in the French Alps that operates in 45 countries. "We sell to awning
suppliers, to OEMs, and to fabricators, but not to consumers," says
Margaret Cook, marketing assistant.
Lee, president; Scott Ionin, vice president and CFO. 609-395-1300;
fax, 609-395-1776. Www.somfysystems.com; www.somfy.com.
Rhodia Inc., a global specialty chemicals manufacturer, is based in
Paris and has its United States headquarters in Cranbury. It was once
part of Rhone-Poulenc, and one of that company’s early claims to fame
is that it produced the first batches of penicillin in 1943, based on
a culture that its discoverer, Sir Alexander Fleming, had given the
Institut Pasteur a number of years earlier.
Now Rhodia manufactures chemicals found in everyday products, ranging
from cosmetics to detergents to automobiles. Rhodia’s major markets
are in home and personal care, making ingredients that go into to
laundry detergents, household soaps, and other cleaning agents.
"Rhodia does not produce any consumer products itself," says David
Klucsik, Rhodia’s director of external affairs, "but we are a
business-to-business manufacturer that produces ingredients that go
into other people’s products."
Rhodia employs about 575 employees in the Princeton area and 2,800
people across North America in its soon to be 19 locations; worldwide
Rhodia employs 23,000. Rhodia has 113 production facilities as well as
five global research and development centers, one of which, the
Cranbury Research and Technical Center, is on Prospect Plains Road.
Rhodia generated net sales of $6.9 billion in 2003 and does business
in 150 countries.
Rhodia’s chemical business extends into these areas: silicone and
silica products for products like the soles of sneakers and car tires;
engineered plastics for automotive components both under the hood
(e.g., manifolds) and outside the car (e.g., bumpers); ingredients for
nutraceuticals like calcium phosphate, an over-the-counter dietary
supplement for building strong bones; Vanillin, a manmade vanilla
flavoring; and ingredients for agricultural products.
Rhodia is also one of the largest worldwide producers of bulk aspirin,
according to Klucsik. In Europe, but not here, Rhodia makes nylon, and
largely in other parts of the world, Rhodia produces ingredients for
Another major part of the business is sulfuric regeneration, says
Klucsik. "We provide sulfuric acid to the refinery industry and other
chemical industries. After they use it, they ship it back to us for
purification, or regeneration."
The early history of Rhodia began in 1858 in Vaise near Lyon, France,
when Marc Gilliard and Jean Marie Cartier began producing chemicals
for use in the leather and textile dye industries. Two years later the
Wittmann et Poulenc Jeune company (later Poulenc Freres) was founded
to manufacture chemical and photographic chemicals. The date of the
actual founding of Rhone-Poulenc is placed at 1895.
The company from which Rhodia came, Rhone-Poulenc, produced both
chemical and pharmaceutical products, but in 1998 the pharmaceutical
branch merged with Hoechst in Germany to form Aventis, leaving the
newly named Rhodia as an independent company focusing on specialty
chemicals. Aventis US is located in Bridgewater and still has major
production and research facilities in Lyon.
On the Cranbury campus of Rhodia Inc. about 100 researchers work at
the Research and Technical Center, where they largely do applied
research for specific customer formulations, says Klucsik. "When a
customer requests, for example, something that will produce more or
less suds or special features in a toothpaste or an agricultural
product, our researchers collaborate with customer researchers or
specs to provide specific features for products." One example he cites
is the feature that allows the new Mr. Clean Carwash to dry spot-free,
dispensing with the need for a chamois cloth.
Last month Rhodia sold the specialty phosphates business that employs
85 people in Cranbury and 1,000 more in seven other North American
plants. Four years ago it had paid $848 million for a British
phosphate manufacturer, Albright & Wilson, and the debt service – $3
billion in 2001 – was an ongoing burden. Bain Capital paid $550
million for Rhodia’s entire specialty phosphates business, and the
deal is expected to close by September.
Rhodia has not been doing well since the recession began, says
Klucsik, although there has been some improvement recently. "The
chemical industry as a whole has been under strong economic and
competitive pressures. The recession in manufacturing worldwide and
the exchange rate between the dollar and the Euro have both taken
their toll on Rhodia’s financial performance and that of other
European companies that are Euro-based."
– Michele Alperin
Cranbury 08512-7500. Myron Galuskin, president, Rhodia Inc.
609-860-4000; fax, 609-860-0074. Home page: www.us.rhodia.com
Princeton 08540. Dan Slick, chief executive officer. 609-987-9424;
fax, 609-987-2767. Home page: www.snpe.com
Representatives at the sales office for Paris-based chemical firm,
Society of National Powders and Explosives, declined to be
interviewed. The name has changed.
L’Oreal USA Logistics Center in Cranbury, which opened its doors nine
years ago, is the largest U.S. warehouse of the cosmetic giant based
in Paris and Clichy, France. As shown on the cover of this issue, both
the French and the United States flags are flown at this property.
L’Oreal Group has 42 plants worldwide, with more than 14,000 employees
in manufacturing sites and over 3.9 billion units produced. One of
seven such distribution centers in the United States, the Cranbury
facility of 525,000 square feet handles more than 1,000 products and
is currently shipping 231 million units per year to all mass-market
points in the United States east of the Mississippi River.
In its search for new technologies, the center has implemented
A-frame, loose pick dispensing, full-case sortation, and narrow aisle
racking to support its operations.
One of the most impressive aspects of the center’s distribution system
is the autopicker equipment that routes orders directly to the picking
machine, according to an article written by a Rutgers MBA student,
Melisa Sloan, in the Supply Chain Management newsletter (December,
2003). "It selects the items without any human intervention and drops
them into cartons. Having toured many other distribution facilities, I
was impressed that the L’Oreal facility was a far cry from the typical
low-wage labor pool pushing shopping carts up and down the warehouse
aisles with lists of items to be "picked" from the shelves."
L’Oreal’s history, as described in its website, began in 1907 when
Eugene Schueller, a young French chemist, developed an innovative and
safe hair-color formula that he called "Aureole." He formulated and
manufactured his own products, which he then sold to Paris
hairdressers. Two years later he registered his company, the "Societe
Francaise de Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux," which would become
the future L’Oreal. As early as 1912, he began to export his products
in Europe. Today they are present in all countries of the world, and
L’Oreal calls itself "the most international of all cosmetics groups."
Although the company started in the hair color business, it branched
out into other cleansing and beauty products. Today the L’Oreal Group
has over 500 brands and more than 2,000 products in all sectors of the
beauty business: hair color, permanents, styling aids, body and skin
care, cleansers, and fragrances, makeup, toiletries. The products are
found in all distribution channels, from hair salons and parfumeries
to supermarkets, health and beauty outlets, and direct mail.
The L’Oreal Group is also active in luxury goods and in the
dermatological and pharmaceutical fields. One of its subsidiaries,
Galderma, has its North American headquarters on Cedar Brook Drive
Like EMR and many other France-based firms, L’Oreal exercises strict
control over communications and requires reporters to submit
interviews for approval before they are published. This article is
based only on publicly available information.
Broadway Road, Cranbury 08512. 609-860-7500; fax, 609-860-7510. George
Blizard, vice president of administration; also at Forsgate Complex,
100 Herrod Boulevard, Dayton. A North Brunswick site has been closed.
Home page: www.lorealusa.com.
One thinks of Paris as the inspired origin of such glamour luxuries as
perfume and face cream. A French label has the eclat, the veritable
"ooh-la-la" that makes women the world over reach for their credit
cards. So it should not be surprising that a French cosmetic firm was
the first to found a center exclusively for research on skin diseases.
Twenty years ago, at a time when big pharmaceutical firms were
devoting only a small portion of their resources to dermatology,
L’Oreal set up a laboratory for serious dermatologic research and
partnered with Nestle to found Galderma, a pharmaceutical company
located on the Riviera near Nice, also with a facility in Cranbury.
Galderma was one of the first biotechs to get significant funding from
Worldwide, the firm has a headquarters and production facilities in
France, laboratories in France and Japan, a marketing office in Fort
Worth, Texas, and a production facility near Montreal. Braham Shroot
opened the Cedar Brook Drive facility with 20 employees (U.S. 1,
February 4, 1999). Shroot, who has left the firm, holds the patent on
the company’s signature acne product, Differin. Galderma also has
products for rosacea and eczema and is developing treatments for
For four years Michael Tuley has been the site director of the North
American laboratory, known as Galderma Research and Development Inc.
The son of a banker in Dallas, he went to Baylor University, Class of
1984, and earned a PhD in statistics from Baylor. He worked for the
Veteran’s Administration and joined Galderma in 1991 in its Fort Worth
marketing office. He and his wife moved to Sophia, Galderma’s
headquarters in the south of France, and their three sons spent the
first year in a French school and the second year in an international
school. Princeton was his next assignment. Tuley has 65 to 70
employees in 54,000 square feet.
Drive, Suite 1, Cranbury 08512. Michael Tuley, site director.
609-409-7701; fax, 609-409-7705. Home page: www.galderma.com
Seven years of dirt bike racing from ages 15 to 22 may not be standard
preparation for a startup export business. But for Eric Claviere,
above, CEO of JTC European Inc., that experience is part of the
unusual blend of business knowledge and personal relationships that he
will use to create connections across the Atlantic. Having raced semi
professionally in France and in Europe and been rated in the first
five men in Motorcross Supercross competition in France, Claviere
says, "As a result, I know many people in this sector." He plans to
use his relationships to satisfy demand on one continent with products
from the other.
Claviere, 35, and his wife "had wanted for a long time to have a
foreign experience," and the opportunity came two years ago when his
wife’s company, CNA Insurance, offered her a job in New Jersey. "After
all the family were installed (and that included his now three and
six-year-old sons), says Claviere, "It was my turn."
He tried to find a job, but sending out 50 to 100 resumes yielded no
bites. At that point, "I decided it was time for me to create my own
business, because I have good relationships in France, and I know many
Claviere also has deep experience is the audiovisual equipment
business, where he has worked for the last 10 years. His most recent
position in France before coming to Princeton was as sales manager for
Panasonic’s LCD projector department, where he had 20 people on his
team. Consequently, he is very familiar with the sales networks and
dealers in France, which work somewhat differently from those in the
He also sees potential in the SUV/pickup truck business, which is new
for Europe. "In France," he says, "only five companies sell this type
of product and many people want them." There are five independent
dealers, not big names but, as he says, "little dealers who sell the
American way of life." Since none of the large U.S. automobile
companies export to France, he sees a niche for himself in bulk
purchasing in the U.S. at a good price for these five French dealers
and maybe similar ones across Europe.
The last family of products that interests Claviere is air
conditioning systems. Previous to the heat wave last summer, he says,
French cultural norms and relatively dry weather dictated that
administrative buildings, hospitals, and similar installations not be
equipped with air conditioning systems. But now a strong demand
exists, he says. However, there are only five companies in France that
can supply the necessary products, compared to 100 air conditioning
companies in the U.S. He admits that in this area many issues will
have to be resolved before exporting can be successful/ For example,
the French systems for supplying gas and electric power are different
from those on this continent.
Claviere is looking for "the good product for Europe." "Many people
want to export French products to the U.S. market, and I’m trying to
do the reverse. In the U.S. there is a huge market of products that we
don’t have in France and Europe."
Global monetary markets should favor his new business, he believes.
"The Euro is stronger now than the dollar." Claviere’s goals, as
outlined in his letter of introduction, are to "connect French and
American companies and help them to identify potential customers; to
help smaller companies be competitive in the global marketplace; to
identify new economic areas and technologies that are profitable; and
to develop product-specific sales and marketing plans."
Claviere’s initial challenge, he says, will be to find solid companies
in the United States in his four target sectors who want to export
their products and who also offer good warranties and good product
information. But if companies in other sectors are interested, he
adds, "I have an open mind. If someone has a good product and wants to
export, but doesn’t know anyone to export to, the advantage of my
company is that I know very well the business in France and Europe. It
is not only a question of buying and selling products, but what is
important for the future is developing relationships."
Claviere is optimistic about his chances for success. He notes that
for a long time there have been good relationships between France and
the U.S., "even if there is bad weather about some decision." He was
also reassured to find some solid French laboratories, like Galderma
and Schlumberger, in the Princeton area.
Although his business began only in April, he has already managed to
send two containers of ATV products to France, one with Suzuki and the
other with Honda products. Although he currently works out of his
house, by the end of the year he plans to have an office in the
Claviere seems to have resolved one financial issue that could make or
break a potential exporter – accumulating the necessary cash on hand
for the purchase of products in the United States. For example, for
the two containers of ATVs, he needed $100,000. He says that he has
used personal savings but is also working with French companies that
are willing to pay the money on his account. "They trust me," he says,
"and they know I am a very serious professional." He also works with a
private New York bank with an office in France that provides
warranties to these French companies to cover their investments.
Claviere’s father is employed by a big company that manages smaller
food stores called marchees, and he manages 10 markets in Paris.
Claviere himself graduated with a baccalaureate in economics from a
French lycee, but did not go on to a university. "After that," he
says, "I was more a self-made man, not one with many diplomas. I got
my experience directly from the business world."
– Michele Alperin
08550. Eric Claviere, CEO. 609.716.8723; fax, 609.716.8723.
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