If you want to buy a Zamboni — and who doesn’t — there’s only one place in the province that can help you.
Kendrick Equipment in Port Kells won the exclusive distribution for Zambonis in both B.C. and Yukon when they acquired Crocker Equipment in May of 2018.
At that time, Earl Vorrath, the previous owner of Crocker Equipment, was ready to sell his business and retire.
“And for us, it’s always been a dream to have the Zamboni line,” said Dave Marshall, vice-president of Kendrick Equipment.
The two companies were friendly competitors within B.C.’s municipal equipment industry for decades. In fact, said Marshall, both of the businesses descended from equipment companies that were competitors as early as the 1910s. “It’s kind of neat that the two have merged,” said Marshall.
The deal was inked in May of 2018, but came to the attention of the Reporter in a recent press release from BDC Capital, the investment arm of the Business Development Bank of Canada, which provided financing for the acquisition. It’s part of a “wave of business transitions” taking place across B.C., as entrepreneurs look to retire and find ways to exit their business, according to BDC Capital.
This transition was financed by a BDC Capital initiative that has invested $180 million in change-of-ownership transactions since December 2017, and is on track to invest $900 million by 2022.
Marshall said that BDC Capital was a wonderful group to work with, and that its “forward-thinking” team made the process easy to complete. “It’s been a great partnership,” he said.
The acquisition has “allowed us to expand into a larger building, hire more staff, and bring on a complementary line,” said Marshall. Zambonis have joined the lines of industrial and municipal equipment that Kendrick Equipment already sold, including vacuum trucks, street sweepers, beach cleaners and more.
“The Zamboni is a fun machine,” he said. “It’s iconic. It’s as Canadian as it gets.”
There are about 300 Zambonis in the province he said, and they’re “in every corner of B.C.”
“There could be a town of 500, 1,000 people and they’ll have a rink and a Zamboni or two,” he said.
Travelling to those different towns has been a great experience. “It’s allowed us to meet some really neat, interesting people,” he said.
As for what’s next in the ice-resurfacing industry, Marshall said that it’s moving towards producing quieter and more fuel efficient machines.
In fall of this year, for instance, Kendrick Equipment will provide B.C.’s first zero-emission, lithium battery-powered Zamboni to the ice rink at Vancouver’s Robson Square. It will be quite the event, Marshall explained, as they’ll need a crane to get the Zamboni down to the ice itself.
For more information on acquiring your very own Zamboni, visit Kendrick Equipment at 19089 94 Ave in Port Kells or check out their website (with a new site set to launch next week) at kendrickequipment.com.