Elias Woodwork celebrates 40 anniversary
September 14, 2023 | 8:46 pm CDT

WINKLER, Manitoba, Canada — Elias Woodwork is celebrating its milestone 40-year anniversary. Forty years ago, Ron Elias and brothers John and Ralph Fehr purchased Elias Woodwork from Peters Elias who started the one-man cabinet shop in a small garage in his side yard. 

Since that humble beginning, CEO Ralph Fehr said the company has produced superior quality products and services of exceptional value, timely delivered, at such a competitive price as to propel the business to double in manufacturing capacity and sales every 4 years. 

"Even though Elias is now seen as one of the most automated wood processing factories in North America, each piece of equipment installed has resulted in more employment, never less," said Fehr. "Our commitment to never cut costs close to the customer results in real live human beings answering the phone for customer orders and service, packaging that is sure to get the product to your location in the condition it left our factory, with a fit and finish second to none.

Elias Woodwork "We have the name of our customer attached to every work piece going through our shop…and are fortunate to be located in a community where employees take pride in knowing the idiosyncrasies of individual customers and how they like their details handled... and the work ethic and pride in workmanship is attached to every finished piece leaving for our customer’s job site.  It’s been a lot of hard work over these 40 years… but when you love what you’re doing, you don’t feel like you’ve had to work a day in your life."

Elias Woodwork Elias Woodwork was incorporated in 1983 while working in a 2000-square-foot building on Centennial Ave. in Winkler, MB. They began building their main facility, along with a maintenance room in 1986, after purchasing their first lot. They worked hard during this time, even constructing overhead dust-holding tanks to load trucks.

In 1994, they raised the capital needed to start building the Rough mill/molding shop and began painting in the South end of it using a small hand spray booth.Elias Woodwork

Five years later, customer demand had them requiring significant expansion again. Their company built a large extension to their main shop and shipping area and invested in a new CEFLA paint line, requiring its first million-dollar plus bank loan. The project extended well in 2000, whereby the extension of the Rough mill and a wood storage area was built. Furthermore, they ventured into a vinyl pressing business in partnership with Triple E. In 2008, they leased the front half of the old Morden Tupperware plant where they immediately set out to build another paint room. In 2013, they expanded their leased space in the Morden plant so they could repurpose it for their AOS cabinet box construction. They then negotiated the purchase of the entire Morden site a short time later.

By 2017, they repurchased the vinyl pressing company and moved that company’s production into the remaining vacant space in the Morden plant. We built an annex to the Winkler site Rough mill in the same year, housing an additional molder and a drawer box cell.

In 2020, Elias Woodwork began preparing another lot in Winkler for the future building once again. They recently finished this construction in 2022 and are now moving the AOS cabinet box manufacturing from the Morden plant. The Elias Woodwork Ownership group is extremely grateful for the hard work and effort made by their staff, acknowledging all their contributions to their growth and success these past 40 years. “We have been so blessed to be located in the Winkler/Morden area because of the hard working multi skilled populating the area.”

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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).