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West Kootenay business in running for BC Export Award

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

Anders Malpass relocated his multi-million dollar business to South Slocan last year from Prince George because the West Kootenay area was perfectly positioned for his company to prosper.

And his company responded, with Drop Designs earning a nomination this year from the Ministry of Business, Technology and Economic Development and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) as one of the finalists for the BC Export Award.

The BC Export Awards recognize the important contribution exporters make to the economy of BC, and Malpass’ manufacturing and engineering company benefits the Nelson area, creating 12 jobs in 2009 and bringing over $2 million in sales in the international market back to Nelson.

When the awards are handed out this Friday in Vancouver, Malpass’ five-year-old company doesn’t need someone from the Lower Mainland to tell him Drop Designs is a success story, he can see it when he makes the drive from his home in Nelson to the structure he built in South Slocan late last year.

“We have some advantages (being here in the West Kootenay), you have great employee skill sets, a diverse work force from low end to the high end, and then you have the ability to get across the border in 15 to 45 minutes, depending on where you are,” he said.

That offsets the high cost of construction and the steep real estate costs, he added.

Drop Designs currently makes bearings, couplings and sockets as the mainstay of their operation, but they also offer full manufacturing and engineering services using robotic cutters.

The majority of their market is in the US, but they also exporting to South Africa, New Zealand Australia, Dominican Republic, Norway and Finland through 5,000 different distributors.

Not only are sales expected to grow next year, but Malpass expects to amalgamate his Vancouver and Prince George operations in South Slocan and add up to another 10 employees.

Originally from Nelson, Malpass found the fit of location, family (his wife, Sherri, is from Nelson) and the ability to be situated in the province’s playground to be alluring factors in relocating.

“We’ve had some great triumphs and success and we’ve been fortunate to have the ability to construct a facility like this in the West Kootenay,” he said of his new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility just off Highway 3A.

Drop Designs has had double digit growth year over year in a declining market due to its value added approach and high tech manufacturing environment, said Malpass.

editor@thenelsondaily.com