Activity along Tower Road in Agassiz has been bustling lately.
PowerWood, a Surrey-based wood product manufacturer specializing in red cedar, is in the process of moving from Metro Vancouver to Agassiz. While there are already a few machines on site, PowerWood co-owner Jake Power said the hope is to be in full operation by July.
Power said their current lot in Surrey is too small, but the 12-acre site where Britco and Metric Modular once stood will allow for PowerWood to grow.
“We’d been looking for a couple of years now for the right site for us,” Power told The Observer. “The building is ready to go, which is a huge plus since building for an operation like ours could take several years.”
Power said the price and availability of land in the Agassiz area is much better than their current Surrey situation. Further to their advantage, Power added working with District of Kent officials has been productive and friendly and the skillset of the labour pool in the Fraser Valley – including forklift driving and general labour – could help the hiring and growth process.
At this point, about 90 per cent of PowerWood’s staff are still working in the Surrey area. He expects minimal downtime as the transfer from Surrey to Agassiz moves along.
Established by Steve Power in 1995 in Coquitlam, PowerWood works with Western red cedar creating log home building materials, siding and paneling, timber and custom patterns. The company moved to Surrey in 2002 with 21 employees on a five-acre distribution yard
Much of PowerWood’s products are sold internationally. Power said despite the pandemic and the need to take additional safety precautions due to COVID-19, the company has had “a surprisingly strong year.” Hot tub and sauna manufacturers have been booming, Power added, along with an uptick in building indoor and outdoor recreation spaces.
‘There certainly have been some effects form the pandemic; international freight container shipments have been somewhat unpredictable, but not in a way that’s really impacted us,” Power said. “The biggest fear has been the possibility of an outbreak at our own facility, but I really have to commend (co-owner and operations manager) Dustin Elliot. He’s done a fantastic job of taking this very seriously.”
Power said there have been no exposures or outbreaks at PowerWood, further crediting the company’s safety committee as well as safety practices such as daily logs, staggering breaks and socially distancing.
As for future planning, Power said the additional space the Agassiz site offers will allow the company to grow twice its current size in a few years and increase production multiple times over.
PowerWood is hiring for multiple positions at the Agassiz location, including general labour, lumber graders and millwrights. To learn more, visit powerwood.com.