ISPA Store Fixtures

Customization+automation—motivation Producing a store fixture is no easy thing. Clients need something that is unique, eye-catching, sturdy, and replaceable within a year or two. The store-fixture business takes the custom wood industry to its limits, combining automation with customization and flexible manufacturing. For success, manufacturers in the sector need their own unique — almost magical — […]

Crescent Cabinet

Everything old is new again Crescent Cabinet is an old factory in an old, industrialized area of old and grey Hamilton, Ont. But don’t let that fool you. Like the other facades surrounding it, the entrance to Crescent is a portal to the stories of lives untold. The Hamilton-based manufacturer of high-end custom wood furnishings […]

Préfontaine Handcrafted Furniture

It is hard not to think of warmth driving south out of Calgary in December. On your right are the Canadian Rockies — a forbidding barrier even in modern times; a threat to life to the early migrants. On your left, the empty, wind-swept snowscape of eastern Alberta. It never took an Ian Tyson to […]

Eastwood Wood Specialties

When asked about his family roots, Ferd Neufeld, president of Eastwood Wood Specialties in St. Catharines, Ont., goes way back to early 20th century Prussia, a region of Germany, where his Mennonite ancestors, some of whom were woodworkers, built prosperous farms through hard work, ingenuity and faith. Yet it was all taken away as ethnic […]

Polwood Cabinets

No fear: Bold action sustains a man, his family and a business Stan Szeremeta, owner and founder of Polwood Cabinets in Kitchener, Ont., has made some bold moves in life. From emigrating to Canada from Poland in the ‘90s, to going on his own in the wood industry a few years later, risk taking has […]

Shipway Stairs

Shipway Stairs started in the 1980s as a one-man operation in a small countryside barn. Today, the Burlington, Ont., manufacturer of wooden stairs and railings employs 120 people and supplies many — if not most — of the subdivisions in the sprawling Greater Toronto Area. Asked to account for the long-term success of the company, […]

Muskoka Surfboard Co.

When in doubt, diversify THERE WAS A TIME during the financial crisis when Richard Hatkoski’s company, which once employed 28 people, was down to one: himself. No work was coming in. Bills were piling up by the day. Friends and family members were asking him why he didn’t just give it all up. He had […]

Career profile: Alan Smart

BUILT ON TRUST   Canada’s secondary wood industry prior to the 1960s was strongly regionalized, with local distributors filling orders for regional manufacturers of newly industrial woodworking machinery. Akhurst Machinery was founded on the West Coast in 1938, but most of the currently recognized names in the industry were yet to be founded. A young […]

Accuwrap: Adapt for long-term success

A burnt steak is what Enzo D’Alessandro uses as an analogy to explain his guiding philosophy of life and business. According to D’Alessandro, “When I was young and working in the hospitality industry, a mentor of mine, a maitre d’, told me if a customer says a burnt steak isn’t done well enough, you don’t […]

Viacraft Interiors

Sink? No Way. Honesty, perseverance and hard work allow family to swim — in good times and bad. Victor Aprea is as tough as they come, but even he can’t hold back the tears when looking back on his life: “I grew up in horrible poverty in post-World War II Italy. You can’t imagine. We […]