Neil Crockett, VP Star Building Materials. Photo by Sam Livermore/Sliver Photography For David Parker column June 27, 2019.
The area to the east of Highway 2 surrounding CrossIron Mills and Century Downs Racetrack is a hive of activity as developments continue to gobble up more industrial sites.Lower land cost, no business tax and accessibility to the highway, Stoney Trail and the Calgary International Airport has attracted many major users.One of the latest is Star Building Materials — a member of the Qualico family of companies — which has tripled the size of its Calgary operation with 12 acres of land along Crosspointe Road. It houses a huge distribution yard, office and logistics building, a 24,000-square-foot warehouse with 3,600-square-foot canopy, and a 5,000-square-foot engineered wood products saw shop.Neil Crockett, Star’s vice-president who toured me around the new location, says his task of building a larger facility was made much easier with the help of Qualico Communities, which dealt with land acquisition and development permit applications, and Qualico Commercial, which managed the project from working drawings through to construction completion.Its main store, office and customer service yard, and door shop remain at its Alyth Road S.E. address, which is also the location of the truss plant. The new yard at Balzac is now the storage yard for trusses and where house and garage packages are assembled, bar-coded and delivered from.Star began as a lumber yard but today supplies everything from framing to finishing, offering a huge supply of building materials, engineered wood floor systems, trusses, shingles and interior finishing.The wonderful smell of wood permeates throughout the new facility, especially in its cavernous warehouse and in its ‘Star’ attraction — the saw shop.Sixty-foot-long engineered floor joists stored outside are propelled through an opening into the shop, where they are rolled onto a feeder to the Boise Cascade SalTek saw — the first of its kind in Canada. A one-man operation, the beams are stamped with a lot number and address to be delivered to, and customized by an in-office computer before being precision cut to one-sixteenth of an inch; a huge saving in minimal off-cuts.Star has 118 staff in Calgary, including 30 in the new Balzac location. Crockett says more hires will be needed as the size of the site allows for future expansion of its drywall and roofing materials, and a move into other product categories.Packaging and delivering building and engineered wood materials to single- and multi-family residences make up more than 80 per cent of Star’s overall sales. So, naturally, housing is a big part of the company’s payback to the community.Funds raised though its annual Ride Through the Rockies cycling event has raised a total of $640,000, enabling Star to build a Habitat for Humanity house every year.Notes:• At a time when many people in the restaurant industry are hurting, it is good to see those who are forging ahead with new locations. Spolumbo’s Fine Foods and Deli is joining Cluck N Cleaver in an innovative new venture inside the West Springs Co-op on 85th Street S.W. Spolumbo’s has been a supplier of its famous sausages to Co-op meat departments for several years, but the new location will be a first as a separate deli. Sisters Nicole and Francine Gomes opened their first Cluck N Cleaver operation on 14th Street S.W. in 2016, serving what is recognized as scrumptious, made-from-scratch fried and rotisserie chicken. It’s a small outlet, but director of poultry Francine and Top Chef Canada Nicole, who has been a superstar in kitchens for 20 years, have created and managed a real success story. At West Hills they will offer a seating area for eat-in customers plus takeout, pre-orders and delivery. Grand opening will be July 8 — the same day as Co-op’s Stampede BBQ at the site.• Trico Homes recently reached an important milestone by welcoming the 10,000th family into one of its homes that it has been building since 1992. To celebrate, Trico wants to donate $50,000 to local charities by offering $1,000 to five local charities for every home sold until July 15. In addition, four $2,500 donations have been made to the charities of choice of four staff members chosen at its staff barbecue.David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at email@example.com.