Barns reborn as custom furniture

Wooden antiques are not always hidden away in upscale shops and grandparents’ homes. Sometimes they hide in plain sight, littering rural roads across Canada and the U.S., those once-functional buildings that helped settlers put down stakes across the continent. For antique restorer Blayne Wyton, the dilapidated barns he saw driving with his young family across […]

Door and countertop production driven by people, technology

When Fernand Belanger opened his Montreal, Que., business in 1965, he was a countertop pioneer working with particle board and laminate. Fifty-plus years later, cabinet doors have been added to the mix at this thriving shop in Boucherville, Que., a suburb of Montreal. Today, this location of Belanger Laminates is a manufacturer of postform countertops, […]

The shop of the future – now

When a wood shop wants to automate its manufacturing operations, often one or two processes get a high-tech upgrade. Not so Muskoka Cabinet Company of Alfred, Ont., down-river just east of Ottawa. “Every inch of space is planned, equipment racks, shelving and ductwork is designed to be flexible to suit the changing needs of production […]

Premium commercial grade

Commercial work is the primary goal for custom architectural millwork shop Western Millcraft in Edmonton, Alta. Owner Greg Clark is quite clear about that. “It is very rare that we do any residential work,” says Clark. “It is not a market I have any interest in. Just commercial that is only premium grade.” The 10-man […]

Millwork and upholstery go hand in glove

Next time you tuck into a stack of pancakes at an IHOP restaurant in Alberta, chances are you’re sitting in a booth created by a company with a 60-year-plus legacy. Ryan Neumann, owner of Onsite Group of Companies in Edmonton, Alta., is part of a family tradition that has combined the manufacturing expertise of upholstery […]

Northern lights-out productivity

When your shop is 33 kilometres northwest of Edmonton down an unpaved side road, a visitor begins to wonder if they have made all of the correct turns along the way. Rest assured on this crisp fall morning, Palladium Products Ltd. in Sturgeon County, Alta., finally comes into view and the iPhone GPS can safely […]

Systems, incentives, accountability, productivity

Flying high can be costly when you are logging hours to be certified as a helicopter pilot. That’s what Cory Brightwell, ceo of Woodwork and Pub Interiors in Edmonton, Alta., found out pursuing his dreams and later, his management philosophy. Nowadays, Brightwell — while he earned his helicopter pilot’s license — is well grounded in […]

Mission, vision and principles

The executive office is at the back of the showroom of Clareville Distinctive Kitchens and Baths, in Brampton, Ont. The door is wide open, revealing a framed set of blueprints for a classic three-storey home. In the bottom right hand corner is the signature, “Lucas Psarianos, architectural technologist.” Lucas “Luke” Psarianos, president and director operations […]

Old World meets new

The greeting couldn’t be warmer this sunny summer day. A bearded bear of a Russian welcomes me to the showroom of Barlow Cabinetworks in south Barrie, Ont., and the conversation flows. With a twinkle in his eye, Igor Slabkovski, co-owner of the business, relays a familiar tale of learning his cabinet making skills at trade […]

Sweet 16: Just In Time

Finding this particular wood shop and furniture store was challenging, even with an iPhone GPS. The journey also came with the lingering fear that my compact SUV was about to run out of gas after being on the road for two hours. That fear turned somewhat to embarrassment when a one-horse, single-man Mennonite buggy sauntered […]