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Cook Bros. Cartage celebrates seven decades

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The years have flown by for Cook Bros. Cartage Ltd., celebrating 75 years of business well into their 76th year. Owned and operated by Blair and Cameron Cook today, Cook Bros. Cartage Ltd. was started by their father Ralph and his brother Les in 1945, beginning the sand and gravel business with a hand shovel and a small truck. 
Later on, in the 1950s, they purchased a gravel screener and then a gravel crusher. Around this era is when the Cook brothers began doing work for Manitoba Infrastructure, as well as municipalities.
Cameron and Blair joined the business in the ‘80s and ‘90s, respectively. The company has now grown to 20 staff. “(The aggregate industry) has really changed over the last couple of years,” said Blair Cook, the younger Cook brother who serves as the company’s CEO. “You see a lot bigger companies starting to move in and you don’t see the smaller companies as much any more.” 
Cook noted that the gravel deposits that they have access to seems to be dwindling locally, but they still
have some good resources to hold on to. A lot of their work comes from serving municipalities in the Parkland area, but projects with Manitoba Infrastructure has taken them far and wide at times.
“We’ve worked as far as Pukatawagan, which was an interesting adventure because we put everything on by rail,” said Cook. “We chose not to wait for the winter road to open up in February, so in the fall prior, we railed in with  the crushing equipment, loaders and the whole staff.” He noted that some of the challenges of running an aggregate business is finding the work and finding good, qualified help. But, Cook does see a lot of repeat customers that has kept the business going for two generations. 
“The clientele in the Swan Valley is pretty supportive and we look forward to serving our customer base here,” he said, adding that he hopes to see his sons – Broderick, Logan and Jackson – and Cameron’s sons – Ford and Jack – keep the family business legacy going. Blair Cook’s oldest sons have already
started to work for the company. 
However, Blair and Cameron will remain the current generation Cook brothers for some time and look forward to keeping on laying the foundations of the Swan Valley and area.

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Jeremy Bergen
REPORTER
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