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Company celebrates 15 years in business.

Celebrating its 15th year in business, Northern Abcor Process Equipment and Controls is one of Sudbury's and indeed Northern Ontario's well-respected distributors of industrial materials and products.

The company's suppliers are located across the country and in the United States, and its customers include Inco, Falconbridge, E.B. Eddy, Abitibi-Price, Mallette Kraft and Algoma Steel, as well as other mining operations, pulp and paper companies and contractors.

Northern Abcor is a thriving company that survived the 1980s recession, and is determined to weather the current economic downturn.

Customers and suppliers confirm that Northern Abcor's success and sound reputation are a result of two factors - expert management and dedicated, loyal and experienced employees.

Northern Abcor is a multi-million dollar company that was borne out of misfortune and opportunity.

It was less than two weeks after George and Trisha Melnychuk, the co-founders of Northern Abcor, were transferred to Sudbury from Toronto that they found out that George's employer was closing all of its Canadian operations.

Rather than returning home, the Melnychuks decided to stay, and they seized an opportunity to go into business for themselves. They formed Northern Abcor Sales Inc. in 1977, and essentially picked up the products George's former employer had left behind.

Northern Abcor began distributing to local companies. For the first year the couple worked out of the Melnychuk home. An office was established on Long Lake Road in 1978, and Astrid Stevens joined the company.

The company has changed locations twice since that time, and is now located in the Coniston Industrial Park.

Abcor is a spin on the words 'abrasion' and 'corrosion' - two things to be avoided or controlled in industry.

Company president George Melnychuk explains that he recognized a need in the area for a specialized distributor that could provide sound technical support to industry. There were relatively few Northern Ontario-based distributors at that time, and the few distributed a broad product ranges rather than specializing in a particular field.

In 1977, with one supplier on board, Northern Abcor was selling two product lines - industrial pinch valves and corrosion-resistant fiberglass and fabrications. Today it has more than 30 suppliers, and now distributes process instrumentation and control equipment. This involves supplying all the peripherals that feed into computerized processing systems.

In 1983 Northern Abcor bought a minority interest in urethane and rubber parts manufacturer Abraflex, which is located in the Valley East Industrial Park. Northern Abcor's interest was to manufacture a complete line of pinch valves and expansion joints.

Within a year Abraflex realized that it could not continue to manufacture Abcor products without undergoing a major expansion.

At this point Melnychuk decided to reorganize his operations to incorporate a manufacturing division. To do this he created an umbrella company called Resource Technologies Inc. that had two operating divisions - Northern Abcor and Elasto-Valve Rubber Products.

Northern Abcor continued to distribute process equipment and control systems, while Elasto-Valve Rubber Products began manufacturing a line of moulded rubber expansion joints and pinch valves. Elasto-Valve bought out the expansion joint division of UniRoyal (Montreal), which also included engineering manufacturing procedures, tooling and hand tools.

Resource Technologies Inc. proceeded to manufacture and distribute its products across the country. However, by 1987 the company found that it did not have the resources nor the necessary financial support to continue.

In addition, Melnychuk was working long hours and thought he was spreading himself too thin to be effective. As a result, Resource Technologies negotiated a deal to sell Elasto-Valve to two of the company's employees. Part of the deal included a provision whereby Northern Abcor would remain as Elasto-Valve's sole distributor in Northern Ontario and northwestern Quebec.

Elasto-Valve has since been sold to a company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange called Devjo Industries. It continues to be a major Canadian manufacturer of expansion joints and pinch valves, and is exporting its products to the United States.

Although Melnychuk has a much smaller role with the company, he says it is "very gratifying to see a vision fulfilled and to be able to continue to play a small role in the company's development as a distributor."

By 1988 Melnychuk focussed all his all efforts on Northern Abcor's distribution business. A full-time sales manager and four sales people, including a territory manager in Timmins, were hired.

How has Northern Abcor survived the current recession?

Melnychuk says prudent planning allowed him to reduce operating costs and eliminate the company's debts. Melnychuk and his employees are confident of their survival.

In addition, Melnychuk credits the Northern Ontario industrial business community for their continued support to local businesses such as Northern Abcor through good and bad times.

Today the company president is looking forward to a bright future, noting that cautious planning, cost control and timing are critical to survival and success.

Operating in what is now a very competitive market, Melnychuk says his plan is to continue to provide quality representation to clients. This includes sticking to the business principles and practices which have steered the company since its first day of operation.

Providing quality service also involves expanding, when necessary.

Melnychuk says he plans to hire territory manager for the Thunder Bay area in the near future.

In addition, he wants Northern Abcor to distribute more value-added products such as pre-packaged metered pump systems and control packages. He is also

looking at starting up a new manufacturing operation.

Melnychuk says employee ownership of Northern Abcor is a long-term objective.

"Northern Abcor's employees have been major contributors to the company's growth, and can gain a good sense of security and reward for their contributions and loyalty," he explains.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Northern Abcor Process Equipment and Controls
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Previous Article:First-time exporters advised to pursue business in the U.S.
Next Article:Company described as great place to work.

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