Construction has begun on a Barkman 40,000 square foot production facility located on 20 acres in Merritt, B.C, marking a new chapter in the Steinbach company’s history.
What began as a small local hardware store that went on to produce concrete septic tanks has grown into a company that produces a diverse line of precast concrete products with over 200 employees at production locations in Steinbach, Winnipeg, and just north of Calgary.
In a Friday press release, Barkman said the $25 million investment represents long term commitment to customers in the form of expanded capacity, high quality products and broadened distribution.
President Brian Pries said the new plant will be very similar to a facility they put up at their Steinbach location about five years ago.
Construction is estimated to be completed this year, followed by equipment installation and testing. The plant should begin production in spring of 2022, with about a dozen employees on a single shift.
Pries said the location was chosen because of access to markets and land prices.
"For the kind of facility that we operate, we need a lot of land," he said.
But the location is also centrally located to markets in the lower mainland and the Okanagan Valley and communities like Penticton and Kelowna.
"We can really access both of our main markets very easily," he said.
Barkman isn’t new to B.C., and Pries said they’ve been active in the province for about a decade. Sales people work on the ground and orders were shipped from the Steinbach plant.
"The sales have grown to the point where it does make sense now to have local production," he said.
Barkman remains a unique company in the business, and is now the last family owned company in the industry in western Canada.
Careful attention to customers’ needs and a commitment to quality are features that Pries said make them stand out.
"We don’t lead the market with low prices but we service our customers very well and we give them a quality product," he said. "That has set us apart in the western Canadian market.
The company also expressed their thanks for the loyalty and commitment of their customers, which have allowed growth to happen.
"We are excited to start this new journey as we invest in our future and we look forward to the many opportunities that opening our fourth location in Merritt, B.C. will provide," CEO Alan Barkman said.