Barkman Concrete Building New Factory In The Mountains

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A small town between Vancouver and Kelowna will soon be the site of Barkman Concrete’s newest venture.

“We’re under construction on a production facility in Merritt, BC,” says President Brian Pries, who says his team has already completed much of the necessary groundwork.

The town of Merritt has a modest population of 7,500 and, according to Pries, this is one of the factors that made it endearing to Barkman.

Pries says the city is conveniently located between their two largest markets in British Columbia, but lacks the price tag associated with Vancouver, where barren land currently sells for over $ 1 million an acre. However, the business strategy is not limited to cost and convenience. Pries says Barkman has always been based in smaller urban centers and believes fostering a Steinbach-like atmosphere in their new workplace will be key to getting off to a good start.

By sourcing materials and employees locally, Pries expects the concrete giant to have a positive effect on a struggling local economy in recent years.

“Merritt has had a bit of a tough race lately. They had a very large sawmill which was the main employer in the city and that sawmill closed its doors about four or five years ago, which was a big blow to this community, ”Pries explains. “We are not afraid to settle in a small community and we believe that there is a strong workforce that is looking for work and we are happy to be part of a small community where we can have a impact.”

Pries says Barkman Concrete is well used to the growth and expansion of a hometown style economy and hopes to do for Merritt what they have done for decades in Steinbach.

Their initial construction is an automated factory that produces landscaping products, identical to the factory on Giesbrecht Street in Steinbach. Once it is operational early next year, Pries estimates it will create 12 new jobs with room for more if local demand for production increases.

“This is an opportunity for us to really make a difference in a small community,” notes Pries, eager to get down to business.

The plant will be based on a 20-acre plot of land and will cost the company around $ 25 million.
Work is already underway at Merritt and Pries expects the plant to be operational early next year. Photo credit: Béton Barkman

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