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Family and cultural tradition lives on

Sudbury sauna manufacturer builds steam in northwest, southern Ontario
Kruker Saunas
A few of the partially finished saunas and cradles for more models sit outside in the yard at Krucker Saunas in Capreol.

Updated June 16

An early morning fire on June 9 severely damaged a Sudbury sauna business profiled by Northern Ontario Business.

A fire in a commercial building in Capreol, a Sudbury suburb, caused about $750,000 damages to a former bus barn. Krucker Saunas was a tenant in the former Northway Bus Lines building.

The incident is under investigation by the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office.

Two units were affected by the fire, according to a release from Greater Sudbury Fire Services. Nobody was injured in the blaze.


Original story

The history of saunas goes back millennia and its applications are still being used today.

Krucker Saunas opened a new manufacturing location in the Sudbury suburb of Capreol in what used to be a bus depot.

Nicolas Krucker, owner of Krucker Saunas, said it was a perfect fit for his growing business.

Krucker Saunas' manufacturing shop was previously located at the NORCAT innovation centre in Sudbury.

“This space used to be a garage where they worked on Greyhound buses. It’s ideal,” he said.

“There isn't much going on in Capreol right now, the rent was cheap, so we called the owner and moved in May 1.”

The business was started years before by Nicolas's father, J.P. Krucker, who also developed his own line of ultralite airplanes.

Nicolas said it's a niche market but demand is definitely growing for the saunas they create.

His company manufactures saunas, bunkies (small sleep cabins), and decks, as well as wood-fired hot tubs.

The saunas and bunkies, he explained, are all in a 10x10 frame, meaning they are small enough they don't require building permits.

“We have two designs, the birdhouse, and the famous barrel-shape, which is something you don't see very much,” he said.

“The shape of the barrel especially allows for optimal heat circulation and it's a unique shape people find appealing. However, all our saunas are designed to give a perfect experience.”

They come in various sizes in those dimensions and can fit from four people, up to 12, with some including a change room.

There are a few models sitting on the shop property, but Krucker said they make theirs to order as well.

All materials, from the steel for the stoves to the wood are 100 per cent Canadian sourced.

“We get cedar from B.C., pine from Quebec, even the steel for the roof is from Quebec,” he explained.

“We do everything here: cut the wood, build the frames and weld the stoves. We even do decorative metalwork if customers request it.”

They also manufacture everything in-house, even the wood stoves, which can burn anything from pellets, to stick wood, whatever the person wants.

If they need an electric stove, they order them from a Canadian company.

While they are located in Capreol and nearby Skead, Krucker said 80 per cent of their business comes from outside the Sudbury area, most of it going to southern or northwestern Ontario; the latter, he said, due to the high Finnish population.

“It's cultural, and that area has the highest number of Finns per capita outside of Finland,” he said.

“Our work is well-known. We make deliveries to all part of the province, even into Quebec.”

Most of his business is seasonal, he explained. Spring and summer are extremely busy. In the off-season, he teaches welding at Cambrian College and NORCAT and logs for his own materials.

On sales in general, he says business is picking up. More people want saunas for their camps for both recreation and health reasons.

“No one is really sure how long people have used this method of bathing, it could go back thousands of years,” he said.

“There's no denying how clean and relaxed you feel after a good sauna.”

His bunkies, which don’t require building permits, are popular due to their compact size. One’s on display outside his father's home in Skead to help promote his business.

The wood-fired hot tubs are perfect for people who live off-grid or in remote cabins and want to conserve gas and electricity.

“They are perfect for that because they can be filled very quickly, do not require chemicals and are sealed,” he said. “The heaters can also be hooked up to pools.”