By: Tina Novotny
What began as a home installation business has grown into one of Georgina’s leading manufacturers and a major employer during the busy construction months.
Gerry Buchner started off installing eavestroughs, shingles and metal siding but finding a lack of quality, affordable materials, he began making his own building products, incorporating his company as Buchner Manufacturing (BMI) in 1979.
After immigrating from Germany and successfully building and selling a business in Toronto, Gerry moved to Pefferlaw to start BMI with his wife Rose, and soon his sons John and Andy were working in the family business.
Now John’s sons Johnny and Jeremy, daughter Ashley and Andy’s son Gerhard are expanding products and markets, with Gerry and John still active in day-to-day operations. John’s daughter Anna is pursuing a marketing career, with Andy’s daughters Kristen and Kendra also following academic paths.
Buchner Manufacturing has extensive building-sector inventory, but their main product lines are in aluminum products such as “rainwear” (eavestroughs, downpipes and hangers), and siding, with metal roofing an important growth area.
Though the company ships as far away as Israel, Hungary and the Dominican Republic, Canada and the United States make up BMI’s primary customer base.
Manufacturing takes place in Pefferlaw and Newmarket, with other locations expanding the business’ distribution side.
BMI runs year-round, and seasonal work sees BMI increase its workforce to around 120 employees. “I can’t think of a single year where we haven’t seen growth,” says Jeremy Buchner, whose focus is sales. “We’re constantly reinvesting in the company and being self-financed and self-owned, we can weather any storm.”
The aluminum market, for instance, was a source of concern. Jeremy described 2018 as “chaotic” when tariffs were imposed on both sides of the border. “Trump tweets and aluminum reacts,” he says. “Thankfully we’re back to more stable ground and can put all that behind us.”
Buchner agrees that manufacturing in Ontario has seen dramatic decreases over the years but says BMI will continue to grow. The company is also harnessing new technology, including 3D printing for casting new stamping dies.
“Automation is impacting our marketplace,” says Buchner, “but we believe in having a human operator present – automation can take over a few steps in the manufacturing process. But there won’t be job elimination.”
Buchner is excited that future generations are entering the family business, with Gerhard a soon to be the father of three, and Jeremy about to get married.
He acknowledges the “blood, sweat and tears” expended by his grandfather, father and uncle, but says the family is poised to take BMI to further heights. “It’s always onward and upward!”
Visit Buchner Manufacturing’s new website at www.buchnermfg.com.