There are really only three types of people: those who make things happen, those who watch what happen, and those who say "What Happened?"
- Ann Landers
Expansion Of St. Albert Plant, September 2013
For several years, we have needed more room to expand at St. Albert. The 12 acres around us was owned by a complex conglomerate. I tried many times over the years to buy it but to no avail. In June 2011, I tried again. I told the key person that buying these 12 acres had become critical to our operation and purchasing the land was on my bucket list. A verbal deal was made, but it took until September 2012 to get through all the hoops. If it weren't for the persistence of our lawyer, Martin Kaup, it could have taken twice as long.
Construction started in September 2012. For someone who built the original plant in 1977 for a total of $80,000, it was painful to watch the gross inefficiency of construction today. More than once, I had to say things like "This is not a government job" or "We are not in Fort McMurray." Nevertheless, I will take my hat off to the crew that actually put up the building. They worked through some very cold, windy weather. The first load of fertilizer was unloaded in March 2013. Within a few days, the 7,000-tonne shed was about 70% full. Then Doug got the call from Agrium saying that the Carseland plant went down and they could not supply all the fertilizer we had bought and paid for.
We were put on a small quota. But two months prior, Doug found a thousand tonnes of 11-51 in the U.S. that he could get. The price was the same as our retail, but he had a gut feeling that he should take it, and he did. It isn't always about profit; it is making sure your customers get product. Many dealers in Western Canada went short that spring. Fortunately, we were not one of them. This story speaks to how independent fertilizer dealers need the wisdom to assess when to buy product, the finances to pay for it and the storage to take it home.
The new storage building has a volumetric blending system with two 50-tonne overhead load-out bins. This system can blend up to 50 tonnes at one time. In 2014, we also added a drive-through wash bay to the shop as well as five new offices and a conference room to the existing offices. Next on the wish list is relocating and improving the liquid system. This will
give us space to enlarge the chemical warehouse.