By Frank Bucholtz/Special to Aldergrove Star
An Aldergrove manufacturer with almost 500 workers was recently crowned business of the year by the local chamber.
Freybe Gourmet Foods, which operates a manufacturing plant in Gloucester Estates industrial park and a corporate office in Walnut Grove, won the Business Excellence Award for the community’s best business with more than 25 employees during the 26th annual Langley Business Excellence Awards.
Last month’s awards ceremony was organized and presented by the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.
The event at the Cascades Casino Coast Hotel was the first in-person business awards event in three years. The last two were held virtually.
In presenting the award to Freybe, the chamber said that “from their award-winning facility here in Langley, Freybe produces premium meat products rooted in a European tradition of quality and heritage that dates back to their founding in 1844. With nearly 500 employees, many of whom live locally in Langley, Freybe has grown into one of Langley’s largest employers.”
Employees from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds are part of the Freybe team, and the company ensures that everyone is celebrated. From Diwali to Dia de Los Muertas, cultural celebrations are marked at the plant with staff members.
The cultural diversity of the Langley and Aldergrove areas is one of the things that attracted the company to this community, and it is pleased to be part of such a growing and diverse community.
Freybe director of marketing Shiho Uzewa reacted to the accolades.
“We are so grateful to have been recognized with this award and to be in a category with such strong nominees that represent those raising the bar for business and Langley,” Uzewa said.
They also expressed thanks to the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce for bringing together business people who want to have a positive impact on the growth of Langley.
“Being recognized in this category takes effort and commitment not just by leadership, but also by our staff, to consistently live our values and look for ways to improve and innovate every day,” Uzewa said.
“Our strong mental health program, our commitment to our people, and our dedication to supporting the community is at the heart of our business. These commitments are much more than just ticking a box. We believe that this makes us a better company, which in turn means we can provide better products and service to our customers.”
While the company’s origin goes back to 1844, it has had a large production facility on 56th Avenue in Gloucester Estates industrial park for almost 20 years, and employs almost 500 people.
It started in Germany with founder Johann Carl Freybe, who apparently believed the path to success was making high-quality and great-tasting sausages.
The company moved to Vancouver in 1955 when Freybe’s great-grandson, Ulrich, saw the potential for his family’s signature sausages in Canada. Six generations of the family have been involved in the business.
The Vancouver business began with a storefront on Robson Street, with the business later moving to Franklin Street in Vancouver as demand grew.
It has grown and expanded ever since.
When the company was looking for a larger production facility, it settled on the Gloucester site. At that time, Gloucester was developing rapidly.
Freybe moved into the new plant in 2001.
One of the new innovations when the Gloucester plant opened was a Hyperbaric High Pressure (HHP) room. This equipment came from Barcelona, Spain. It was the latest innovation in producing high-quality meats in a safe and environmentally-conscious manner.
The new plant was also designed with a mezzanine and an open production system. Most of the production areas are visible from a visitor’s upper deck area.
The design of the new building won a 2003 sustainable design award for its environmental approach to construction and operation.
A story in the Langley Advance in May 2004 noted that one of the features of the design of the original 9,900-square-metre plant was the collection of rainwater on the parking lot and roof. It is treated and then slowly released into the salmon-bearing stream nearby, which is a tributary of West Creek.
At that time, the plant employed more than 250 workers.
Freybe touts its long tradition of quality, and has won over 600 international medals for its dry cured products. It continues to produce handcrafted, European-style meats, including salami, pate, hams, sausages, and pepperoni sticks.
More about Freybe can be found online at: freybe.com.
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