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Breaking down barriers: diversification has been a boon to growth for the Bucket Shop in Timmins, says Brian Blahey, marketing manager. (Timmins: Special Report).

A 10,000-square-foot addition has enabled the Bucket Shop, a Timmins-based manufacturer and repairer of excavation equipment, to expand not only its shop space, but its workforce, capabilities and coverage area.

If the news is all doom and gloom in the mining and forestry industry, it is not evident in the dynamic planning of its parent company, United Supply, and the direction set out by owner Ross Woodward, who recently created a metal fabrication and engineering division known as Steeltec.

In catering to major mining, forestry, welding companies and contractors from across northeastern Ontario, marketing manager Brian Blahey says the company is seeking to diversify into all aspects of structural steel manufacturing.

The expansion, which tacked onto their pre-existing 20,000-square-foot building at Riverside Drive and Government Road, was completed in December 2001 and done entirely in-house.

An open house was held in late January to showcase the expansion to clients from across Northern Ontario.

Both businesses, the Bucket Shop and Steeltec, share staff and are operated by United Supply, which also operates a full-line industrial, commercial, institutional and residential cleaning and supply division called Swish.

"We were starting to get into steel fabrication and were doing more field work," so the company simply formalized the service with Steeltec and hired 15 extra tradesmen to bring the workforce at the joint Bucket Shop-Steeltec facility up to 30, says Blahey.

"With three or four buckets on the floor, we were getting jammed up and running out of room.

"There's more fabrication going on with building (vehicle) cabs for the mining and forestry industry, and now there's more room for us to do that."

The expansion also allows them to work on larger projects and take on more work, which is evident in the photos of the huge Agrium and Dome mine dipper buckets and large 30-tonne dump trucks from mines as far as northern Manitoba displayed in the hallway's of the company.

"Distance isn't an issue anymore," says Blahey. "We can put anything on a flat bed and bring it here."

In adding on some much-needed repair and fabrication space, two overhead cranes of 7.5 tonnes and 20 tonnes were also installed.

"Now there's pretty well nothing we can't fabricate in the shop," or at the job site with up to seven field crews in place, plus independent contractors on call in Kapuskasing and North Bay, says Blahey.

"We'll travel wherever we have to travel and take on any job," he says, in expanding their service area from Manitoba to Chicoutimi and south into the Greater Toronto Area.

"We've always been aggressive in promoting the company," says Blahey. "We won't sit back and wait for business."
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Ontario
Author:Ross, Ian
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jul 1, 2002
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