The ownership has changed, and the plant has a new name on its sign, but operations will largely stay the same at Fibrestick Manufacturing.
Now operating under the Weston Wood Solutions banner, the Sault Ste. Marie plant manufactures products for the residential and commercial construction industry out of medium-density fibreboard (MDF), including mouldings, doorjambs and other components.
Weston acquired the 10,000-square-foot facility in June to complement its Brampton-based operation, which makes and distributes value-added wood and wood-related products for the market.
Ryan Connolly, who has owned the Sault business since 2006, said he was approached by Weston several months ago with a request to manufacture some products for them, and it eventually evolved into an acquisition.
“The administration portion of the business has changed quite a bit because, of course, we’re integrated with their offices in Toronto,” Connolly said. “But as far as the rest – the men, and the shop, and all that – it’s running the same as it always was.”
Over the decade-plus he’s helmed the business, Connolly has grown its client list to 15 from just two, and has grown its staff to 18 from four.
Under new ownership, Connolly expects to see even more growth.
“New products will be brought on and, over time, they plan on expanding the business significantly,” he said.
That includes more employees and a larger facility, as the current plant is “busting at the seams.”
A leading player in the wood industry, Weston has received recognition five years in a row as one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies in the Growth 500 list, and has been a repeat winner of Canada’s Best Managed Companies program since 2016.
Weston president Alan Lechem said Fibrestick would be a welcome addition to its portfolio.
“As proud Canadians, we are delighted to work with the team in Sault Ste. Marie to build upon their successes, and provide additional local employment opportunities,” Lechem said in a news release.
“This acquisition enhances our portfolio of finger joint, laminated veneer lumber and composite millwork products, and complements the company’s extensive global sourcing with quick-turnaround domestic manufacturing capability.”
Connolly said part of Fibrestick’s appeal is its close proximity to the nearby Arauco plant, where Fibrestick sources its raw materials.
Arauco has been an excellent partner to work with, he said, and has been more than helpful in navigating the transition.
As new products come online, and production capacity increases, Connolly expects that the Sault plant will need to source additional quantities of material from Arauco.
“It’s a win-win for both Weston and Arauco, in the long term, having the plants side by side,” Connolly said.
Though he’ll be staying on with the newly branded company, Connelly said that hanging up the Fibrestick name after 25 years in business is slightly bittersweet for him.
But overall, he believes the acquisition will be a positive move for the longevity of the company and its staff.
“I think it’s really good for Fibrestick,” Connolly said. “Now we’re into a bigger company, it’ll be more stable for long-term growth. It’s very good for Fibrestick, a very good thing for the employees.”