The story of G. L. Wood Products’ evolution is that of a company built on hard work, attention to customer service, value-added products and strong family values.
G. L. Wood Products began as G. L. Sawmill Ltd. 1985. It was a “Mom and Pop” operation for woodsman Gaston LeBlanc and his wife, Marita LeBlanc. Gaston managed the operations, while Marita was bookkeeper and office manager.
GL had its humble beginnings in Haute-Aboujagane, New Brunswick Canada, a picturesque small town located about 15 kilometres east of Moncton and 30 kilometres west of the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island.
In this scenic area, just six kilometres away from his front door, Gaston acquired a 15-acre site and set up a little warehouse in which he and five employees started to make wooden boxes for the smoked herring to be shipped from a nearby Cap Pele fishpacker to foreign countries, primarily the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Gaston’s original decision on where to locate the firm turned out to be sound. With the passing of time and growth of the region, the business is now next to the major highway and close to Moncton, an excellent central location in Canada’s Maritime Provinces.
Throughout the years, new re-manufacturing facilities have been added and the company now sprawls over most of its acreage.
Today the family firm is managed by Gaston’s son-in-law, Guy Donelle.
The company now employs over 35 trained workers.
Its line of products has been greatly expanded to include primarily wood packaging components. Products include food grade wooden boxes, pallets, pallet components, kiln stickers, laths, dunnage and even kindling wood packages.
Products are shipped domestically and exported overseas.
It was founded on family values and nobody forgets that.
“We want our employees to feel like family, and we feel the same way about our suppliers and our customers. That is our business model,” says manager Guy Donelle.
“We know this is work, but we believe that preserving the pleasure of close family ties and treating everyone as part of our extended family is an approach that has led to our success.
Our employees work hard for us and we appreciate that. And if they need something from us, such as being able to change a schedule sometimes to be able to take their kid to extra-curricular activities, we do our best to make that work. Family is number one with us.”
The company is also extremely customer service driven.
“We pride ourselves on our ability to turn on a dime to do a custom job for clients who find themselves in a jam,” explains Donelle. “We will solve their problem. We are loyal to our customers and suppliers and, to our great pleasure, that loyalty is returned to us.”
Donelle says the firm does its absolute best for its customers and in the rare instance they cannot provide what is needed, they will not hesitate to use their industry contacts to help find someone who can.
Both generations of the family understand that their business philosophy may not be straight out of a textbook, but it works effectively for them.
“It is what makes us who we are and why we have sustained solid growth in the last three decades,” adds Donelle.