CKF Inc. Celebrates Its 75th Anniversary



    HANTSPORT, NS, July 10 /CNW/ - On July 17, CKF Inc. will become something
rare among manufacturers: a healthy, vigorous, thriving, and forever youthful
75-year-old. "Human beings have learned to survive, on average, for 75 years
or more," Arie de Geus, a retired Royal Dutch/Shell executive, writes in his
book, The Living Company, "but there are very few companies that are that old
and flourishing."
    Bruce J. Jodrey, the chairman, president and CEO of the company, issued
the following statement:
    "CKF Inc.'s completion of 75 successful years in business is truly
outstanding. Without the talent and hard work of our hundreds of able, loyal
and dedicated employees, it would not have been possible. On behalf of the
management and directors of CKF Inc., I extend to all our employees, both past
and present, our heartfelt thanks. This celebration is for you!!!"
    With plants in Langley, B.C., Rexdale, Ont., and Hantsport, N.S., CKF
Inc. is Canada's biggest manufacturer by far of single-use plates, and its
Royal Chinet tableware is the country's best-selling premium brand.
    The company is also Canada's largest producer of private-label plates
made out of foam and pulp-fibre paper and, for the Canadian food service
industry, of foam plates, four-cup carry-out trays, and hinged-lid containers.
Finally, CKF Inc. is a leading supplier to Canadian customers of pulp egg
cartons, and other pulp and foam packaging.
    It was in 1933 - a year of breadlines, soup kitchens, and, "Brother, can
you spare a dime" - that bluenose business genius R. A. Jodrey founded
Canadian Keyes Fibre Company Limited (renamed CKF Inc. in 1982) in Hantsport,
Nova Scotia. His descendants still own and run it.
    The company's earliest years were painful. Jodrey had to overcome
horrendous mechanical glitches in the new factory and a major financial
crisis, but in 1937 the plant managed to transform pulp into 14 million pie
plates.
    In 1941, his son, John J. Jodrey, became acting manager. John later
served as president, chief executive officer, and honourary chairman. At
ninety, he was still reporting regularly to his office at the Hantsport
factory.
    By the mid-1940s, the company was making only pie plates and cake circles
for bakeries, and smooth-finish dinner plates. The backyard barbecue craze led
to a dramatic growth in its sales of disposable tableware in the 1950s, and as
supermarket chains set out more prepacked food than ever before, sales of meat
and produce trays also shot up. Canadian Keyes Fibre called the containers
Sho-Paks, and sold billions of them.
    "But then foam trays were invented," said William Mulhall, a retired
vice-president of CKF Inc., "and that business got so cut-throat that, over
five to ten years, we lost just about all that Sho-Pak market to foam."
    Not only supermarkets but fast-food restaurants, which were popping up
all across the country like dandelions in June, demanded plastic foam
containers. By 1975, John J. Jodrey, at 62, knew that unless the company he'd
been running since he was 28 started to make them, it would survive only as a
minor manufacturer of pulp-based products, or perhaps even die.
    In 1975, an opportunity arose, and he did not fumble it. A fire destroyed
the Brantford, Ontario, factory of W. R. Grace & Co., the biggest producer of
foam products in Canada. The company quit the business. Who would satisfy its
customers?
    Canadian Keyes Fibre snapped up Advance Plastics, a small manufacturer of
foam products in Brampton, Ontario, and enlarged its own warehouse in Rexdale,
Ontario, to house not only Advance's equipment but also some that it bought
from W. R. Grace & Co.
    Since it made sense to manufacture foam products in British Columbia
rather than pay to ship them out there from Rexdale, Canadian Keyes Fibre in
1978 bought Gulf Plastics in Langley, and quickly expanded it.
    A coast-to-coast manufacturer and marketer, CKF Inc. has been
relentlessly growing for 75 years. It has survived the Dirty Thirties, wars,
and severe recessions; the invasion of its market by foam containers; the
federal government's elimination in 1995 of historic freight-rate assistance
for the Maritimes; sky-rocketing fuel prices, the consolidation and consequent
toughening of supermarket chains, the threat to its American competitiveness
that the rise in the Canadian dollar poses, and the obstacles to
just-in-time-delivery that heightened security measures raise at the border.
    Following the arrival of free trade, CKF Inc. outgunned its biggest
American competitors in Canada, and opened lucrative markets south of the
border.
    As it prepares to celebrate its 75th birthday, it has more than 670
employees. Its plants have a total area of 727,000 square feet and run around
the clock, seven days a week and 52 weeks a year.
    "It's been a great company to work for," says Bob MacDonald, a former
vice-president of finance. "An aggressive company."
    And still going strong, stronger than ever.

    Special thanks to Harry Bruce, Writer, Editor

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    





For further information:

For further information: CKF Inc., Ian Anderson, Executive Vice
President and Chief Operating Officer, Tel. (416) 249-2694, Email:
ianderson@ckfinc.com; Brad Dennis, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Tel.
(416) 249-2272, Email: bdennis@ckfinc.com; Website: www.royalchinet.ca

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