Founder & CEO
When speaking with Martin Paquette, one thing is immediately apparent: he’s honest. His transparency is refreshing. While many shy away from such vulnerability, Paquette sees it as a force to reckon with. The incredible emotional intelligence speaks to years of looking within—it’s also what allows him to acknowledge his mistakes gracefully and use them as opportunities to innovate.
“It’s not about me, it’s about us.” Paquette’s relationship with his team is truly his greatest strength. He cares deeply for the wellness of his team. No matter the size of his business, Paquette believes in communication. He makes his intentions and purpose clear: for his company’s culture to be inclusive and appreciated at its core. Most importantly, he listens and fosters a positive environment where personal and professional growth is inevitable. He elaborates: “Often inspiration comes from such different places. By sitting down with my employees and sharing ideas, we can take them elsewhere. Collaboration is what has allowed us to create a truly unique experience.”
Paquette finds ease in sharing his company’s story and purpose. A master storyteller, bringing people into his world is what he loves the most, and thus, is what he finds easiest. Always on the lookout for inspiration, Paquette finds it in his everyday life: “Witnessing acts of kindness energizes me and makes me want to be better and do better. It’s what gives me the drive to go the extra mile. Knowing that by making an effort to be kind, you’ll be on the other end of smiles and beautiful memories is a great motivation.”
Groupe Nordik seeks to propel the spa industry to new heights by offering new and innovative relaxation experiences. “Technology is fascinating when it is at the service of the people, when it makes life easier and better— when time can be freed for us to choose to use it towards what we value most – whether it be time for ourselves, our loved ones or our communities.”
There are a lot of things to consider when creating a new and innovative experience. Paquette believes this one primordial: technology must be seamless so that guests may focus on their wellness. “The Nordik experience is all about putting troubles behind and allowing ourselves a moment’s respite. All our experiences are designed to achieve this goal. From the moment the guest makes their reservation, all the way to the end of their day.”
“Our infrastructure and technology are designed to facilitate our staff’s efficiency. We want to give them all the tools they require to make the experience seamless.” He continues by explaining how important his employees are to him and his company.
Paquette explains how he carefully crafted a team of experts: “We have a team of programmers and designers who created and manage our online platforms. We built our own to optimize the experience and make it seem effortless.” Paquette’s desire to take his guests elsewhere—on a wellness journey—is what inspired him to make his technology invisible. “So much happens without the knowledge of the guest so that their experience is elevated.”
True to form, Paquette is refreshingly honest in his answer: “We pay very little attention to the competition. It is a distraction. We stay the course.”
Paquette explains that he and his team were faced with incredible challenges during the pandemic, which led to tough decisions. However, he knew they could get through this hardship. While other businesses were closing and panicking, Groupe Nordik did the unthinkable. “We decided to take this time as an opportunity to invest in our optimization process, our infrastructure and, most importantly our employees.”
Today, Paquette looks back at how he and his team responded to the crisis with pride and admiration. In a world where the pace of life has grown frenetic, anxieties are high, and troubles seem many, Paquette wishes to offer a solution: room to breathe. A space where one can escape worries, where the benefits continue far beyond the present, and where memories are made. A haven for all, Paquette explains.
“Thermotherapy soothes mind, body and soul.” Paquette explains how the experience of the thermal cycle—hot, cold, rest—adapts itself to one’s needs. While athletes will desire physical benefits, a mother searching for a midweek moment of peace will seek thermotherapy’s psychological benefits.
Paquette is passionate about offering a solution that reaches and serves the people and communities they join. One that benefits all and can be adapted by the guest to fit their individual needs. Having benefited from it himself, Paquette describes thermotherapy as a universal solution that is both flexible and adaptable. “Every time a guest visits, they will adapt their experience to the needs they seek, whether they are physical, psychological or social. It’s such a diverse experience that no two visit is ever exactly alike.”
Furthermore, Paquette adds: “We believe everyone deserves a moment of peace. And because we care for their wellness as much as we do that of our guests, we invite our employees to visit the spa—free of charge—as often as they’d like.”
Groupe Nordik’s most outstanding achievement is having built a strong, recognizable brand that people trust. To keep it as such, Paquette stresses the importance of constantly innovating. “Our vision for collaborating, sharing and teamwork is what sets us apart.” Paquette explains how Groupe Nordik took this to the next level: “Everything is internal. We have brought together such a great team.”
From an in-house IT team to marketing, design, wellness experience, research and development, construction, and even an in-house call centre—internalization has given Paquette and his team more significant control over the quality of his organization. Furthermore, it allows for a better immersion into Groupe Nordik’s company culture. “Keeping everything close to home makes communication so much easier. It’s our greatest advantage: everything is here. We all work together.”
What started as one spa—Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea, Québec, now the most extensive spa in North America— became so much more, explains Paquette. “We became a business that develops spas and creates opportunities.” With Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature in Winnipeg thriving and Thermëa spa village | Whitby soon to make a splash in the Greater Toronto area, many wonder what’s next for the innovative company. Paquette gives us a look into the future: “Already having three spas under Groupe Nordik umbrella is amazing. We’re working on the fourth and fifth now. Expect to see wellness thrive in Calgary and Mississauga and opportunities to flourish.” For Groupe Nordik, creating new spas is a thrilling endeavor that allows them to express and realize the innovation they have been developing and perfecting over the years.
Much could be learned from the COVID19 crisis and how Groupe Nordik artfully avoided its catastrophic repercussions. The organization’s focus has always been the future, explains Paquette. When the business world came crashing down, decisions had to be made quickly. Even as others scrambled, Paquette and his team remained leveled-headed.
At the height of the pandemic, when Paquette’s businesses closed—with no idea of when they would reopen—he asked himself, “what can we do now?” Where many panicked, he saw opportunities. He elaborates, “Rather than protect ourselves, we decided it was the perfect time to innovate and optimize. In 18 months, we managed to complete projects which would’ve normally taken years to finish.” It was a courageous decision. Paquette was not afraid to bet on his employees—his most precious resource. Today, with the world coming back to life, it’s safe to say the bet has paid off.