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Lack of local support leads to company closure

The Overlanders Bridge is just one of the many local projects M3 Steel has worked on. The company is shutting down in August.
July 08, 2014 - 10:34 AM

KAMLOOPS - A total of 20 people will be out of work by Aug. 22 as M3 Steel prepares to shut down after more than 30 years in the fabrication business.

Manager Vance Smelland says four people have already left and another four will be gone by the end of July. The remaining 16 will be out of work when the company officials closes the door in August.

“There’s a lack of profitable work in the current marketplace,” Smelland says. “The larger contracts are going offshore.”

The company has built a ‘great deal’ of arenas, Canadian Tires and Walmarts in the province and most of the local shopping malls. The company has provided supplies to Domtar as well but mining contracts such as New Gold and Gibralter Mines have been key to the company staying afloat, especially in 2012 and 2013.

“We started to notice a rundown in the last six months, there’s just not enough work available,” he says. “Mining work was there for awhile and when it ran out there didn’t seem to be enough work.”

Smelland, who has been in the business for 42 years and with M3 Steel for 17, says many of his employees are cross trained and should be able to find work at smaller fabrication shops but some may end up looking at moving out of Kamloops as well.

“It is happening all around. Some of the larger industrial clients could be more faithful in their own townships,” he says. “If they supported local this may not be (necessary.) Those larger firms have to recognize they have to support people in their community if they want their community to last.”

The company peaked at 40 employees. It owns the building but is on leased property in the Mount Paul Industrial Park, which is run by the Tk’emlups Indian Band.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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