Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd (GSFP) celebrated its annual Christmas party on Saturday, Dec. 5, along with its anniversary of 60 years in business.
The event held at the Lions Hall was attended by over 130 present and past employees as well as their spouses.
Everyone enjoyed an amazing turkey dinner that was prepared by the Barriere Legion Ladies.
Attendees were entertained by stories and photos of the “old days,” and gifted a $60 gift certificate to be redeemed at one of the local merchants.
The company also had its annual Movember contest in support of prostate cancer research, had a safety draw, and announced the years of service awards with two employees this year hitting a milestone of 40 years. Congratulations were given to Glen Stanley and Dan McMartin for all their hard work.
“As an anniversary arrives, you find yourself looking back to the beginning, remembering every change made along the way, any challenges faced, and work up to how things are today,” stated GSFP general manager Greg Smith.
“Historically, Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd started in the pole industry and then converted to sawmilling. Gilbert Smith came to the North Thompson Valley with his family in 1906. In 1955 Gilbert and his sons, Carman and Ted, established Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd. Gilbert retired in 1957 leaving his sons to run the company.
“In 1967 Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd purchased a used portable mill and set it up on site, and by May of 1968 lumber was produced. Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd extended its capabilities by adding the planer in 1970, followed by the Resaw and then added a Bin Sorter in 1989.
“After surviving the McLure Fire in 2003 with the support of our crew, contractors and a little luck, we then in 2004 added a Hewsaw small log line which more effectively processes small logs with improved recovery.
“The package press was added in 2011 to enable packaging to service National Home Center business and overseas export markets, enhancing the reputation of the company abroad and increasing sales during one of the toughest market downturns ever experienced.
“There has also been numerous improvements to the sawmill over this past year to modernize the headrig and small edger along with more improvements planned for 2016.”
Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd takes pride in being a third generation family run operation. The business originally started with one man who quickly added his sons and it grew to include a crew that now features many family connections of their own: brothers working together, fathers and sons, mothers and sons and a husband and wife.
“We all share in the success of this business,” said Smith, “And we all celebrate this milestone and many more years to come.”