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“The team at Britespan really thought through how to engineer a better solution for the market. To see a company created out of adversity, that redesigns the product and goes onto commercial success across North America, is such a great story.”
February 25, 2016 – To celebrate some of Canada’s most accomplished small business owners, the AIR MILES® Reward Program is hosting the third annual Small Business Achievement Awards, presented by Bank of Montreal, on March 7, 2016.
Small businesses represent 99.8 per cent of all companies in Canada and are the economic engines that power Canada’s job creation and economic growth! The AIR MILES Small Business Achievement Awards is proud to recognize small business owners and the significant contributions they continue to make to this country and its economy.
Britespan is excited to announce that they are the recipients of the 2016 Canadian Small Business of the Year Award.
“We are thrilled and honoured to receive the 2016 Canadian Small Business of the Year Award as part of the 2016 AIR MILES Small Business Achievement Awards,” says Ben Hogervorst, President of Britespan Building Systems Inc. “It is a great accomplishment for Britespan as a whole. We are very proud of all the accomplishments that have been achieved by everyone in the company. It is only by working together and collaborating and creating that we have been so fortunate to have actually won this award.”
Britespan Building Systems Inc. was created by Ben Hogervorst and his wife Jenny who for 15 years had been the owners of Cover-All Building Systems of Ontario, a dealership for Cover-All Building Systems Inc. When their distributor, Cover-All Building Systems Inc., went into receivership in March 2010, they could have licked their wounds and moved on.
“We didn’t want to abandon the customers we had serviced for 15 years,” explains Hogervorst. “We still believed in the product but understood there was room for improvement.”
The couple partnered with local welder Rob Stute to create Britespan. One of their first orders of business: a meeting with dealers to ask what improvements could be made to fabric structures commonly used in agriculture, oil and mineral exploration, and commercial and public works.
Those discussions birthed new processes and an expanded product line, and changed ideas around materials, portability and ease of construction.
With materials sourced from Ontario, Britespan also improved speed to market and quality control by building its own manufacturing facility and in-sourcing at every turn.
With a company vision unified around a message of quality and innovation, customers responded loud and clear. Sales topped 400 buildings and $14.5 million in 2015 – up from $3.7 million in its first full year of business. “We listened, innovated and ultimately generated new opportunities in a mature industry,” notes Hogervorst.
Its winning streak includes a City of Calgary contract to construct two buildings for a new composting facility that, when combined, will be the largest fabric building facility in North America.
While a thriving multi-million dollar enterprise today, Hogervorst says they don’t want to lose sight that the family-run business is essentially about people. “The product innovation is great, but without a dedicated staff to service our customers we wouldn’t be where we are today,” he says.