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Diversification keeps machine shop busy

Starting off in business in the depths of a recession taught the owners of North Bay’s Resolution Machining a vital lesson: the importance of diversification.
The mining, forestry and motorcycle parts business has diversified Resolution Machining's client base. (Photo by Ian Ross)

Starting off in business in the depths of a recession taught the owners of North Bay’s Resolution Machining a vital lesson: the importance of diversification.

“We’ve learned our lesson once with putting all our eggs in one basket,” said Louise Reilly-Moore, who co-owns the 10-employee machine shop with her husband, Roy Moore.

Resolution Machining does CNC machining, welding, custom machining and fabrication in making custom parts for the mining, mineral exploration, pulp and paper and construction sectors.

Originally known as John’s Machining Services, husband-and-wife owners Roy and Louise purchased the company in 1991 from owner John Hurtubise.

Roy worked for Hurtubise as a machinist coming straight out of college. “John was very smart and taught Roy a lot. That was the idea for Roy to take over.”

They kept the company’s name for a few years but when they relaunched under new ownership, economic times in the early 1990s were tough. Almost all of their machining and fabricating work was geared to clients in the mining industry.

The couple pulled Rodney Belanger off the shop floor and made him sales manager. He went after pulp and paper clients like Tembec.

These days, both the forestry and mining industries are struggling, but what’s keeping the shop busy is manufacturing motorcycle parts for a nearby business in Callender.

The company has built an 11-year relationship with Lightning Performance Products and its owner Mike Jodouin, a maker and distributor of after-market parts for bikes and ATVs. Jodouin is a frequent figure in their new and expanded shop on Venture Crescent.

Resolution is Jodouin’s exclusive manufacturer for ‘Lightning Mike’ of motorcycle add-ons and accessories. The shop makes more than 600 parts for Jodouin including frame sliders, lift kits, forward controls and swing arm spools.

It has grown to become a substantial part of Resolution’s business.

“We’ve got our hand in a little bit of everything,” said Roy, mentioning project work such as press plates for the paper industry, drills part for the mineral exploration industry and industrial augers. Last year, they built a barge from scratch and continue to take some off-the-street jobs such as repairing trailers or industrial parts.

Their other clients include large and small fabrication and repair jobs for Industrial Motors, Wagg’s Petroleum Equipment; Stowe Woodward, makers of rollers for the paper industry, and local mining suppliers and service companies like Atlas Copco and Cementation Canada.

This latest recession gave them a slight breather to make a move last December from a cramped 6,000-square-foot building on Ferris Drive to a more spacious 25,000-square-feet shop in the Seymour Industrial Park.

“We were bursting at the seams at our old place,” said Louise, a former graphic designer who handles the company’s books. “We were storing and doing work outside.”

The new shop is the former home of Parent Doors & Windows.

Now settled in their new shop, activity is starting to pick again from forestry clients like Tembec, suggesting to them that maybe the economy may be stabilizing.