A long-established family business in Haileybury has found its niche in the courier industry.
Gabbani Courier Services started seven decades ago as a taxi company in Cobalt. Through its many transformations over the years, the company has been providing a vital service in northeastern Ontario.
“Our market is delivering what is too heavy for the big-name couriers and too light for the bigger transport companies,” said owner Mark Langille. “We do what others don’t do.”
It started as a taxi company in the mid-1940s by brothers Pete and Jim Gabbani. In the 1950s, a garage and service station were added and later that decade, school buses.
A North Bay newspaper was picked up six days a week and delivered to customers as far as Englehart.
“People then started asking them to pick up this and that since they were making the trek six days a week. So then it grew into a courier company and ran like that until the early 1970s,” said Langille.
His father-in-law, Vince Gabbani, took over in the 1970s, running the bus line, garage and courier service. The bus line was later sold and the garage fell victim to a fire in Cobalt in the mid-1970s that destroyed part of the town. It was eventually rebuilt and then sold.
“The business has had many different faces over the years,” he said.
In 1994, Langille and his wife Kathy bought the business, making it a third generation family-run business.
“We have steadily grown over the years. When we first bought it we had an office out of the house and then we hired a person to free up my time. We moved to our current location (McKay Clements Drive in Haileybury) and then added an office,” said Langille.
Gabbani has anywhere from 15 to 20 people depending on the season, with the summer being the busiest time. It also is an agent for Fedex in the Temiskaming Shores area.
“We mainly do business to business,” he said. “We offer same-day service from North Bay to Sudbury and back. No one else does that. We also do same day from North Bay to Haileybury and same day from Timmins to here.”
Contractor-related companies keep Gabbani busy during construction season, and companies with warehouses in Timmins, North Bay or Sudbury are regular clients.
“We are picking up new customers all the time. Our trucks and vans on the road are probably our biggest way to advertise. Our delivery people are good as well, so they act as our salespeople too,” Langille said. “There are others who do deliveries, but we can deliver faster.”