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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.
FROM THE JUDGES
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.
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 $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.