North American Storage is one of Canada’s leading manufacturers and end-to-end service providers of pallet racking and industrial shelving systems. Originally incorporated in 1952 as a subsidiary of Steel Equipment of England, the Fabricius family acquired the company in 1972. The evolution to North American Storage happened in 1996.
“It was a partnership between the Fabricius Family who owned North American Steel, based in Whitby Ontario, and Iain and Kim Petrie who ran a business in this location prior to this, under a different name,” says Jonathan Hirst, Vice President and General Manager.
“Today North American Storage is proudly Canadian owned and operated, and contributes to 400,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehousing capability across six plants and distribution centres,” adds Melissa Hirst, Office Manager.
When Iain and Kim retired in 2015, Jonathan and Melissa took over by purchasing their portion of the North American Storage ownership.
She continues, “We design, manufacture, and install the pallet racking storage products and systems we provide. We have a hand in the entire process, which allows us to maintain oversight of the quality of our products, from negotiating steel purchases directly from steel mills, to maintaining Canadian Welding Bureau and COR certification within our facility, to administering the permit process for clients, right through to final inspections and sign off by the municipality.”
North American Storage’s product lines include roll formed and structural pallet racking, cantilever racking, and shelving. These products are typically integrated into distribution facilities or industrial applications to increase storage density, product access, and operational efficiency. Assistance is offered for facility operators at every step of the process, from greenfield design and working with architects on new facilities, to retrofitting existing spaces.
Jonathan says, “Our engineering services are completely in house, allowing us to streamline design to meet code and permitting requirements across Canada. Our production and installation teams collaborate on deliveries and erection of the material we manufacture and can facilitate final inspections to ensure clients’ business goals are realized.
“We also offer ongoing client support in the form of manufacturer’s certifications for capacities, and related documentation to ensure clients are compliant with provincial occupational health and safety standards.”
Melissa notes, “Choosing Edmonton as a centre of our Western manufacturing was strategic in that there is a deep pool of talented fabricators in the area and it is located centrally between key markets, reducing shipping costs for our customers.”
When the Nisku facility opened in 1996, it did so with two sales reps in BC, one in Calgary, and a full time installation crew. Within the first year they were expanding the manufacturing plant. The growth continued at a rapid pace with structural steel racking added in 1998, another expansion in 1999 and more dealers and product lines added through the 2000s.
In 2021, North American Storage marked another major milestone by opening its new facility in Calgary and adding more representatives across Western Canada.
“The success of North American Storage is founded upon a legacy of clients who share our core values of quality, service, and engineered solutions to fit their business needs,” say the owners. “At heart we are problem solvers. We love helping clients break through the barriers of their business and reach their goals.”
Jonathan and Melissa credit their team for being a major part of the company’s success.
“The team at North American is so talented and I am proud to be associated with of all of them. I honestly think this group would be successful in any field they set their minds to, but we just happen to be really, really, good at solving warehousing challenges.
“We run a small and knowledgeable team of operations staff that can handle very large and diverse projects.
“We are a big family at heart, and we seek individuals who value an employer offering diversity, challenge, and opportunity to grow professionally. It is not a coincidence that we hang our service awards inside the front door of our office. Our team has many 10 and 20+ year plus employees, so much so it takes up two walls and we are still running out of space!”
North American Storage couldn’t be happier to operate out of Edmonton and Calgary, saying they have enjoyed “phenomenal support in all the communities where we have established offices.”
“Our clients value the ability to speak to key personnel directly to receive actionable information, without navigating complicated automated answering systems or deal with attendants that only pass along questions.”
To their current clients and prospective clients, Jonathan and Melissa advise, “A well developed plan now will pay dividends in the future. If your chosen pallet racking provider is more concerned about closing a sale today than listening to where you want to take your business tomorrow, then you need to find a new provider.”
North American Storage is very invested in the communities it serves, focusing its giving back on supporting organizations that are feeding and housing the vulnerable, and organizations that bolster the hardworking first responders and medical air transport services that save lives everyday.
What does the future look like for the growing company? Jonathan says, “The growth of North American Storage is rooted in the support of Rolf and Tania Fabricius and the North American Steel family, who 25 years ago, believed in a small plant on a dusty road in middle of the oil patch. Today we are still modernizing and have grown into the premier manufacturer of pallet racking in Canada.
“We have reinvested in our production capabilities with updated equipment, currently hiring to add a full-time night shift and are focusing on key hires in the areas of health and safety, quality, supervision, and maintenance. We have recently expanded our outside technical sales support by hiring a dedicated individual for the Saskatchewan and Manitoba markets, and bolstered our Edmonton and Calgary teams with new hires starting in 2021 Q4.”
Safety will continue to be a top priority.
“We pride ourselves in maintaining a Canadian Welding Bureau Division 2 certification, long before it was a requirement in our industry, and it is a higher certification than many other manufacturers’ in our industry,” says Melissa. “We maintain COR certification and a robust health and safety program that protects our employees both in the plant and on the project site. We are an active participant to the establishment of pallet racking design code nationally through the CSA technical committee process, whose members donate their time to create and promote standard improvements to protect the safety of Canadian workers.”
As North American Storage continues to grow, the emphasis on supporting and valuing the team will never wane.
“We cannot emphasize enough that North American Storage is a product of the commitment and dedication of the employees,” conclude Jonathan and Melissa. “This 25 year milestone is a reflection of all their efforts and of those that came before us. The company is indebted to them for seeing us through some lean years in the Canadian economy, only to emerge stronger and ready to take on the next challenge.”
2103 – 7th Street, Nisku, Alberta T9E 7Y3
105 – 7850 66 Street SE Calgary AB T2C 5V1
Toll-Free 1.800.241.8968 • firstname.lastname@example.org