Nestled within the vibrant region of Niagara lies the historical township of West Lincoln. This charming community has flourished with the support of longstanding businesses and community members that have helped shape its rich heritage. From longstanding family traditions to innovative industry leaders, these companies embody the spirit of community, strength, and innovation. Join us as we celebrate the legacies of West Lincoln and the extraordinary individuals behind these businesses.
In 1973, Stanpac made a momentous decision to call Niagara home, forever intertwining its story with the fabric of West Lincoln. What began as a modest packaging company has since transformed into a global leader in the dairy, food, and beverage industries. Stanpac’s dedication to quality and innovation is evident in their modernized designs, use of cutting-edge materials, and robotic technology. With a strong presence in over 30 countries, their products have become a staple in grocery stores worldwide. The Stanpac symbol on a container signifies not only a superior product but also the support of a family-owned business deeply rooted in the West Lincoln community.
Growing their community alongside their business, Stanpac supports the community by providing West Lincoln Community Care with space at their facility as well as supporting McNally House Hospice. As a family-owned business, Stanpac’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility is at the core of everything they do. From welcoming newcomers to the community through providing English as a Second Language programs.
Along with their social support Stanpac is continuously modernizing their products and designs to always try and be a leader in creating environmentally conscious packaging options.
— Murray Bain, V.P. Marketing Sales Team
For 70 years, Turkstra Lumber has stood as a pillar of support for the Niagara region. Founded in 1953 by Peter Turkstra Sr., this family-owned and operated business seamlessly blends traditional values with a commitment to excellence. With 11 retail locations and 5 specialty divisions across southern Ontario, Turkstra Lumber has become a trusted name in the industry.
Turkstra Lumber’s success lies not only in their exceptional products but also in their deep community involvement. They collaborate with outreach programs, support food banks, and champion after-school initiatives, all while ensuring a thriving community. Their dedication to social responsibility underscores their belief in creating a better future for West Lincoln and beyond.
In 2023, Turkstra Lumber proudly received the Platinum Standard award for Best Managed Companies, marking the seventh consecutive year of this prestigious recognition. This accomplishment highlights their commitment to excellence and their ability to adapt to the evolving needs of their customers. As a company deeply rooted in tradition, Turkstra Lumber remains a reliable source for all construction needs, where customers can still buy nails and screws by the pound.
For over a quarter of a century, Clark Agri Service has served the agricultural community with passion and dedication. With roots dating back almost 100 years in Ontario farming, the Clark family understands the unique needs of growers and the agri-food industry. Offering expert agronomy, AG retail, grain marketing, and precision AG services, Clark Agri Service is a trusted partner for farmers seeking to maximize their crop yields.
Clark Agri Service’s commitment to sustainability sets them apart. They continuously strive to develop innovative solutions that benefit growers, the natural environment, and the agri-food industry as a whole. By promoting sustainable practices and investing in advanced technologies, Clark Agri Service ensures that their customers can plan their crop inputs with confidence, knowing that they are working with a company dedicated to their success.
In 1994, Clark Agri Service took a significant step forward when the Clark companies purchased the Dunnville Co-op, expanding their capabilities and services for farmers in the region. Today, Clark Agri Service operates under three streams: Clark Egg Farms, Clark Poultry Farms, and Clark AG Systems. This diversified approach enables them to meet the varying needs of growers, providing comprehensive solutions to help them thrive in an ever-changing agricultural landscape.
Since its establishment in 1921 by Ernest Merritt, Merritt Funeral Home has provided professional and compassionate care to the West Lincoln community and its surrounding areas. Spanning multiple generations, the Merritt’s commitment to helping families during their time of need has remained unwavering, with this tradition being passed on to the new owners M. Andrew (Drew) and Jessica Gauthier.
Merritt Funeral Home understands the importance of honouring loved ones with personalized funeral services. They assist families in planning meaningful and dignified ceremonies that celebrate the unique lives of community members they serve. With a range of service options that cater to diverse cultural, religious, and financial needs, Merritt Funeral Home ensures that each family receives the support and care they deserve.
The history of Merritt Funeral Home dates back to the mid-1800s when it operated under various names, including Snider and W. W. Camp. After a fire in 1926, Ernest Merritt moved the business from downtown Smithville to its present location. Clarence Merritt, Ernest’s son, continued to operate the funeral home until his death in 1963. Gove Merritt, Clarence’s son, worked alongside him and received his Funeral Directors license in 1949. Gove, along with his son Tom, operated the family funeral home until Gove’s passing in 2000.
Tom, who obtained his Funeral Directors License in 1986, ran the family funeral home for decades alongside his wife Laurie, caring for families in West Lincoln and the surrounding communities.
Drew (who had been involved in the industry since 2012) acquired his Funeral Directors License in 2017 and is continuing on the traditions established by Merritt Funeral Home’s century-long history.
Looking to the future, Merritt Funeral Home plans to restore and update its building under their new management. This commitment to modernization reflects their dedication to providing families with the highest level of care and comfort during difficult times. By combining compassionate service with a focus on continuous improvement, Merritt Funeral Home remains a trusted resource for the West Lincoln community.
— Drew Gauthier
One of the newest businesses to create their mark on the history of West Lincoln is family-owned raw pet food giants, Big Country Raw. On the outskirts of Smithville, Ontario, lies the production facility of Big Country Raw, Canada’s leading provider of raw pet food. Founded by Rob and Geraldine Brouwer, the company’s humble beginnings were rooted in a desire to provide dogs with the healthiest diet possible. What started as a small operation in their garage quickly gained popularity, eventually leading to the establishment of a larger production facility.
Big Country Raw’s commitment to quality and the well-being of pets is unwavering. They produce all of their raw pet food right in Smithville, Ontario, using temperature-controlled trucks and a state-of-the-art Temperature Monitoring System to ensure the products remain frozen and nutrient-rich. By using custom containers from their neighboring business, Stanpac, Big Country Raw emphasizes its commitment to supporting local enterprises and promoting a thriving business ecosystem within West Lincoln.
The success of Big Country Raw is not just measured by its growth but also by the impact it has on pet owners across Canada. By providing a natural and balanced diet for dogs and cats, complete with meals, supplements, and treats, Big Country Raw promotes the well-being and longevity of our four-legged companions. Their dedication to delivering value and quality has earned them recognition as one of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies.
Founders Rob and Geraldine Brouwer’s journey began in 2008 when they ran Big Country Kennels, breeding German Shorthaired Pointers and Bernese Mountain Dogs. Like many pet owners, they fed kibble to their dogs without questioning the ingredients or nutritional value. However, their perspective changed when they added a dog named Bijou to their breeding program. Bijou came from a well-respected Bernese breeder in Quebec who suggested feeding her a raw diet.
Witnessing the remarkable benefits of a raw diet on Bijou’s overall health, energy, and coat quality, Rob and Geraldine embarked on a path to explore the raw food route further. They sought guidance from their local butcher and followed the provided recipes. Soon enough, not only Bijou but all the dogs in their kennel experienced the positive effects of a raw diet. The Brouwers were convinced that a raw diet was the key to optimal pet health and developed a passion to share this with all pet-owners.
This pivotal moment marked the birth of Big Country Raw. In 2008, the Brouwers began producing pre-made raw food from their rural property, gradually expanding their operations. As word spread about the health benefits and convenience of their pre-made raw meals, the demand for Big Country Raw skyrocketed.
What sets Big Country Raw apart is not only their commitment to providing nutritious meals for pets but also their dedication to their employees and customers. They foster a culture of innovation, encouraging team members to challenge the status quo. In 2020, Big Country Raw’s unwavering commitment to excellence was recognized by the Globe and Mail and Canadian Business Magazine, earning them a spot among Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies.
— Geraldine Brouwer
In 2019, the company opened a 28,000-square-foot production facility with overwhelming support from the community. Recognizing the growing popularity of raw pet food, which accounts for 10-15% of the $4.2+ billion pet food industry in Canada, Big Country Raw accelerated its five-year expansion plan to meet the increasing demand. In 2020, they added a 10,000-square-foot addition to provide more freezer space and a larger order fulfillment area.
Today, Big Country Raw ships its products to over 1,400 retailers across Canada. Their goal is to grow the overall share of the raw pet food category, firmly believing that when more people feed their pets a quality raw diet, their pets will naturally lead healthier lives. The company takes pride in offering the best value and quality of raw food on the market.
As Big Country Raw continues to grow, their legacy of promoting optimal pet nutrition and fostering healthier, happier pets remains at the forefront. With each meal they provide, they contribute to the well-being and vitality of our furry family members, ensuring a lasting impact that extends far beyond the borders of West Lincoln.
The legacies of West Lincoln are an integral part of West Lincoln’s tapestry, showcasing the resilience, innovation, and community spirit that define this remarkable township. Stanpac, Turkstra Lumber, Clark Agri Service, Merritt Funeral Home, and Big Country Raw, have showcased the remarkable and diverse journeys of businesses that have left an indelible mark on West Lincoln.
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