When Mr. Hellerud passed away Northern Meats was taken over by Harry Foster in 1949. Harry Foster extended the plant and added 120 more lockers. He also added a retail meat department.
Frank Thibadeau purchased Northern Meats in 1956 and has operated it since. In the past 17 years many changes have taken place. Locker plants gave way to home freezers and as more rural electrification came in less lockers were required. In 1957 we felt the necessity to build a plant to take care of supplying home freezer owners. On our acreage two miles from City center we constructed a plant for this purpose and continued our locker plant and retail business at 1028-102 Ave. in town.
As the home freezer provisioning business grew we decided to close out our retail operation and gave full time to home freezer supplying and processing. Since 1967 we have operated entirely from our plant on our acreage. This portion of our operation grew to the point where we decided to expand our facilities. In 1972 we doubled the size of our facilities. In 1972 we doubled the size of our building.
Some highlights of our operation of Northern Meats would be our entries over the years in a curing competition. We competed against a number of plants in the Alberta Locker Association in 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1971 in their ham and bacon contest — the price winning certificates have a prominent place in our office. We were mainly interested in proving that meat products from this area were equal or superior to the same products from Alberta. The results prove this to be fact beyond doubt.
Another highlight was seeing Federal Inspection and grading introduced. With the foresight and hard work of Lawrence Meats this was accomplished in 1966. Now all livestock can be dressed under inspection and grading which is a real step forward.
The B.C. Department of Agriculture selected our plant for the filming of a TV production on pork processing in 1972. This film was for the promotion of B.C. Products and was televised in all major centers in B.C. and Alberta. It is now being shown in schools throughout the Province, and word from the Dept. of Agriculture assures us this film had been very successful. The Dept. of Agriculture has decided to do a film on Cattle production and processing this year and Northern Meats has been selected for filming on the processing portion of this film on Sept. 25, 1973.
On looking back over the past 20 years that we have been associated with the meat industry in Dawson Creek, I am firmly convinced that we owe a great deal to our livestock producers who have stayed close to the industry in some of the most trying times for the primary producer. We hope improvement will continue for the producing segment of this valuable industry.