December 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 71

UBC Okanagan Commons Building. Offices of the Government of B.C. Blum Canada Headquarters. D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 | 19 Architectural Woodwork P H OTO G R A P H Y BY R I L E Y S N EL L I N G/CO U RT E SY TO P 4 0 WO O DWO R K S; M O R I N WO O D; A D G A RC H I T EC T U R A L D E S I G N G RO U P I N C . COVID-19 has taken its toll on the architectural woodwork sector, but solid recovery expected by ROBIN BRUNET Remarkable Resiliency T he woodworking sector has always been vulnerable to the vagaries of the economy. But 2020 has seen woodworking and related companies both large and small rising above the chal- lenges associated with the pandemic, to not only retain their workforce but take on new projects – and even in some cases expand their scope of work. Kelly Glanzer, manager at Top 40 Woodworks Ltd., uses a familiar slogan to summarize the will of his 75-member team. "When the going gets tough the tough indeed get going, and I'm grateful that in addition to us fol- lowing all the safety protocols as they developed, we did not close for a single day this year – even though our volumes aren't huge." Glanzer concedes that much project schedule juggling took place, "And as a result one month we had record numbers and the next month was a bust, followed by another strong month then another bust, and so on." Currently, Top 40 is providing various tender work – including $1-million worth of millwork for Laurel Street Works – and is involved in BC Housing projects, school upgrades, and national service contracts. "That includes pharmacies and grocery stores," he says. "Also, the Edo Japan fast food chain, Circle K and others are doing a booming business in this environment, so we're providing point of sale, mer- chandising cabinets, tables, and other items for them." But as busy as Glanzer's team is, he confesses to missing out on a design-build project for which Top 40 spent the better part of a year developing mock ups, helping with budgets, and providing other services, due to a miscommunication. "To say this was frustrating would be an understatement, and I guess it goes to show that challenges in our industry abound that aren't associated with COVID." On the plus side, Glanzer thinks 2021 will be a year of massive economic recovery, helped along by the COVID vaccines. "There's tons of infrastructure and other projects waiting in the wings, and we're in a position to be able to double our volume if the chance arises, thanks to investments made over the past five years," he says. "Our 65,000-square-foot facility is outfitted with the latest technology in material handling, CNC, edgebanding, etc., and currently we're installing a new dust collector system and looking at investing in a fourth CNC router." Tom Morin, owner of Morinwood Inc., reports that, "We're weathering the disruptions as best as possible. As everyone knows, restaurants and hotels, in which my company is heavily involved, were slammed hard, and suddenly we have no projects in these sectors – although it should be noted that many busi- nesses have demonstrated an incredible ability to pivot and stay afloat, which bodes well for future recovery. "Fortunately we're flexible, and we now have plenty of work with office improvements on Vancouver Island, which is convenient because that's where we're located. Collaboration spaces and meeting pods are in vogue, so we're doing made-to-order banquet style set ups with white oak and walnut along with metal and glass components all playing a significant design role." Morin also inadvertently positioned himself well to ride out the government's COVID restrictions by selling his shop prior to the pandemic. "Now I sub out all of my manufacturing and have a staff of nine instead of 50, with my former employ- ees working for the new owner," he explains. "It's a better business model, and when I calculated my year end in late September the numbers were very encouraging." Revelstoke-based Lortap Architectural Millwork benefits from being one of the largest shops of its type in B.C.'s Interior. In 2017 it expanded from 19,000 to 30,000 square feet and has also invested in a CNC machine and software. With the CNC, Lortap has the ability to under- take large high-end projects without ignoring smaller jobs that require intricate architectural detail. The company's portfolio ranges from providing high quality millwork for numerous hotels, lodges, hospitals, casino's, universities, small busi- nesses, and high-end homes. Kathryn Parr, marketing at Lortap says, "We maintain a healthy outlook with regards to future prospects, and as long as we maintain our high standard there will always be work opportunities in Revelstoke." In the domain of companies that supply functional hardware and other products for millwork projects, Blum Canada Limited arguably had the most exciting news to report in 2020. A state of the art 61,000-square-foot facility has been built to increase warehouse capacity and efficiency in supplying their

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Award - December 2020