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Opening New Doors

Opening New Doors

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Canadian owned and operated, and with six locations across four provinces, CP Distributors is growing steadily and surely across the nation. The company is most well known for its doors, frames, hardware overhead doors, toilet partitions and door hardware. As a one-call-does-it-all service, CP’s projects come with the full support of architectural openings consultants, estimators, project coordinators and install technicians.

CP Distributors was founded 60 years ago by John Hall (majority shareholder) and Roy Coulman (minor partner). A successful start meant additional team members were soon needed; Ken Suppes and Martin Scobie soon joined the brand. In 1972, Suppes and Scobie bought out Hall and Coulman. In 2004, management and ownership transferred to Scott Suppes, Kevin Suppes and Gerald Haller. Today, Scott, Ken’s son, is CP Distributors’ President and CEO. 

Rob Grant, Vice President, Director of the Central Project Team, talks a little more about those early days, saying, “The first location was in Saskatchewan in 1962 and that quickly kicked off the train of growth. A second location opened in Regina in 1978, then Edmonton in 1980. Just three years later we expanded to Calgary, then on to Surrey, BC in 1987. Our most recent expansion was into Halifax in 2016.”

Grant continues, “The foundation of CP Distributors has always been the door and door hardware business, but over the years we have really branched out into niche areas for building specialties such as lockers, toilet partitions, washroom accessories, and more. At one point we even provided the boxes/bodies for the back of ambulances. While we don’t provide those anymore, it shows how we are always willing to lean into opportunities and branch out to fill market needs. If it makes sense and can be profitable, we will invest our resources. Our focus today is providing solutions for all types of door openings which basically means if you can walk through it or drive through it, we have a solution for you. 

This updated focus is not strictly for products that help in these situations, but we now have a full line of access control systems to help augment our opening solution package. In addition to a growing product list, we have recently redefined and redeveloped our processes. It’s all part of our vision to enhance our offerings with new services, products, and capacity for our customers.”

One of the recent process overhauls took place in 2018. Grant says, “We launched a phone app called CP360. It’s for internal use as well as for project sites. This tool maintains everything online from photos to shipping and documentation. It helps us remain proactive and ahead of developing issues, and empowers us to be quickly reactive if something, for example, was short shipped.”

The next year CP Distributors made another change and launched its pre-assembled program. Grant explains, “Now we can provide fully pre-finished metal or wood doors in any colour required. We fit all the door hardware ahead of time and send it out to site as a complete package. It did take our customers some time to acclimate to this new convenience, but now it’s really starting to steamroll, and the majority of our projects are going out as pre-assembled.”

From the start, the company’s innovation, customer care and quality products empowered CP’s continued growth. The early days of the company saw a staff of around 15. Now there are more than 270 staff corporately including 48 in Edmonton and 54 in Calgary. 

“A big part of our success is the extent of knowledge and expertise in our team,” says Grant. “We have quite a number of people with 20+ years of service; some have over 30 and a handful have 40! I’ve been with CP for 29 years myself. We take serious pride in our ability to retain people for as long as we have. A key to success is to have this level of technical knowledge and expertise in house and in the industry.”

CP Distributors empowers each team member with training in all positions, providing a safe and inclusive workplace and providing outstanding working conditions.

“We choose to invest very strongly in our people,” Grant reaffirms. “However, like any other organization right now, continuing to build the team is a challenge post-COVID. As we come out of the pandemic, we see a lot of change within our organization and within our industry. We remain in serious growth mode and are committed to hiring people that will contribute to, and make a difference for, our brand.”

Grant enjoys working from the Edmonton location. “With the number of years I have been involved in the construction industry and with CP, Edmonton has always stood out as a great place to run a business. It really has a small town feel with big town dreams. I have seen a lot of positive changes in Edmonton in my time and developed a lot of very positive relationships with industry partners, clients, and friends. Everyone that grew up in Edmonton and got into the construction industry, we all have one goal in mind – and that is to build a better community.”

Grant says about the Calgary branch, “Calgary is unique among the cities in which we operate. Where other cities, such as Edmonton, are focused on industry and manufacturing, Calgary is focused on head offices and administration. We have enjoyed seeing the developments downtown that are designed to cater to the big operations, whether it is oil and gas or other sectors. We do see that Calgary shares a lot of the same traits as Edmonton, though, when it comes to that can-do, entrepreneurial spirit.” 

CP Distributors’ work may not be as visible as one of the city’s high-profile towers, but their work has made a tangible difference in many more humble ways. For example, in 2012 CP completed a landmark project for the Edmonton Remand Center.

“That was when the Remand moved from downtown to it’s current location on the north side,” Grant reminisces. “At the time it was the biggest contract we had ever landed! CP handled all the commercial doors and door hardware, as well as the detention equipment package. Although it was a massive undertaking, and a really big learning curve, it was an incredibly successful project experience all around. I started out on this one in the estimating side of things but as the job progressed and when we got into the final stages of the project, I ended up spending a lot of time on time on site to manage the close out of the project. Once were able to turn the final screw, well, it was a very rewarding feeling for everyone involved.”

CP Distributors is also pleased to count the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) among its many successful projects. “The RAM was complicated with many new scope items,” says Grant. “It was an enjoyable learning experience.”

Today, the largest contract secured by CP, and the one that has eclipsed the Remand in scope, is the in-progress Calgary Cancer Centre for Alberta Health Services. 

“This state-of-the-art Centre will be a hub for cancer research in addition to a treatment facility,” explains Grant. “Upon completion this year, it will serve as a hub to consolidate and expand the range of cancer services in southern Alberta. CP Distributors was pleased to supply and install the hollow metal doors, plastic laminate wood doors, the finish hardware, and automatic door openers along with automatic and manual sliding doors. Additionally, all of the steel and wood doors were supplied as a prefinished/pre-assembled product along with pressed steel frames and STC windows.”

Since it’s start 60 years ago, one thing has remained unfailingly consisted for CP Distributors: giving back. Every generation of ownership and every management team at each location has been heavily invested in giving back to the communities that have helped build the brand. Just a few of the organizations CP Distributors is proud to support include Arthritis Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Make-A-Wish Foundation, MS Society of Canada, and many more.

On behalf of the ownership and management group, and the teams in all six locations, Grant says, “A very big thank you to all our client partners, trade partners and industry cohorts. Our industry partners have been very instrumental to our success and growth. The teams also thank and acknowledge the leadership of President & CEO Scott Suppes and CFO Gerald Haller.”

Sixty years and two generations of ownership have brought the company to where it is today. The past informs the future as the plan is to keep growing, keep learning and remain ready to take on opportunities that CP can execute while learning new concepts. 

Grant concludes, “Anyone can sell products; at CP we offer solutions. We recently had our management meeting in Halifax and Scott disclosed the next goal in terms of sales. It’s a hefty number but we are ready for the challenge! The way to get there is to keep building our partnerships and relationships. We plan to expand into new markets and geographical areas and are heavily looking into acquisitions to introduce and develop a security department. Adding the scope of security services ties perfectly into our door and door hardware expertise.”

For CP Distributors, the future is an open door. Learn more at cpdist.ca online, @cpdistributors on Twitter and Instagram and @cpdistributorsltd on Facebook. The company is also active on LinkedIn.

4715 Eleniak Rd NW,
Edmonton, AB T6B 2N1
(780) 468-6754 • Toll Free: 1-888-875-9090
sales.edmonton@cpdist.ca
cpdist.ca

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