Advertisement

B.C. aerospace firm pivots to high-end crib boards after pandemic skunks sales

Click to play video: 'This is BC: A Langley aerospace company pivots during the pandemic to stay afloat' This is BC: A Langley aerospace company pivots during the pandemic to stay afloat
Kodiak Aerospace, which was on target pre-pandemic for multi-million dollars in sales, has seen production come to a near standstill in the last couple of years. Now the company has turned to a card game to help keep the business alive, until the airline industry bounces back. – Feb 13, 2022

A Langley aerospace company that was on target for millions of dollars in sales pre-pandemic saw production come to a near standstill.

With orders for aircraft parts crashing to a halt during the pandemic, the company realized it could use its equipment for other purposes. The machines are operational again at Kodiak Aerospace, which has turned to a classic card game to help keep business alive.

Read more: Being laid off during COVID pandemic turned into a new business for B.C. artist

Kodiak is now cranking out cribbage boards — and employees embraced the idea.

“We refined the edges, we have very precise holes, we use metal accessories,” owner Daryle Redlin told Global’s  This is BC.

Click to play video: 'This is BC: Competitive swimmer says you’re never too old to start' This is BC: Competitive swimmer says you’re never too old to start
This is BC: Competitive swimmer says you’re never too old to start – Feb 10, 2022

“A couple of guys were like, ‘We’re making what?’,” said General Manager Michelle Zylenko.  “I said, ‘Well, no this is what we’re doing. It will keep us busy,’ and I think it could go really well.”

Story continues below advertisement

“Anything that keeps me working is great and I enjoy the design process,” Kodiak CNC machine programmer Leigh Weitzel said.

With over $5-million worth of machinery in the shop, Kodiak is used to making more than 80,000 airplane parts a year.

That number dropped to 1,000 in 2021.

Read more: North Vancouver’s iconic Roman Tailor still sewing after 5 decades in business

“It’s been the most difficult and challenging time of this company’s history, the last two years,” Redlin said. “Just constant bobbing and weaving trying to get through it.”

The cribbage boards are away to help stay afloat for now, and with the exception of one employee, Kodiak has been able to keep all of its staff on the payroll.

Click to play video: 'This is BC: Pandemic turns out to be blessing in disguise for local artist' This is BC: Pandemic turns out to be blessing in disguise for local artist
This is BC: Pandemic turns out to be blessing in disguise for local artist – Feb 8, 2022

It’s still a scramble trying to come up with new ideas, and it could be years before full production of aircraft parts resumes.

Story continues below advertisement

“Things like new types of guitar stands and other types of table trays,” said Redlin. “Essentially anything out of aluminum, steel or titanium we can make.”

“We’re all learning a few new things at the same time, which everyone enjoys,” Weitzel added.

Read more: B.C. floods: Mechanics donate their Sundays to help get Fraser Valley farmers back to work

The Kodiak cribbage boards are $99 with an option for custom engraving.

It’s a high-end board for the serious crib player like Zylenko, who first pitched the idea and may end up teaching a few of the employees the game.

The next step for her is teaching the company’s owner how to actually play the game.

“She is an avid crib player,” said Redlin. “So I’ll probably get my butt given to me a couple of times but it is what it is.”

To contact Jay Durant with a story idea for This is BC, email him details and contact information at thisisbc@globalnews.ca

Sponsored content