January 12, 2022
By Chad Friesen
Friesens Corporation had a very successful 2021, achieving a record $100 Million in sales for the first time. While many other businesses continued to struggle (including two of our own), overall, we had one of our best years in over a decade thanks to really strong performance in our Book Division and subsidiary company, FriesenPress.
Senior Vice President, Byron Loeppky said “The company benefited greatly from investments made over the last five years as we’ve expanded our facilities, upgraded equipment, automated processes, and added capacity. All these efforts contributed to our success as we enjoyed unprecedented demand from our customers”.
The increase in demand is the result of strong retail sales of printed books and the shortage of supply is a result of limited book manufacturing capacity in North America and major disruptions to global supply chains. All of which positioned Friesens as a desirable print partner for Canadian and American publishers.
There were certainly challenges over the last 12 months including navigating the health threats of the pandemic, a recruitment shortage, difficult supply chains, and a drop off in yearbook business due to school closures and restricted activities. But we managed to overcome most of those challenges through persistence and innovation.
According to the CEO, Chad Friesen “As a 100% employee-owned company, the staff of Friesens and FriesenPress participate in the financial success of the company. This year, those rewards will exceed $3 Million and represent more than a 75% increase in employee-owner payments.
Employee-Owner payments are determined by a number of factors but essentially, when the company earns a profit, we first invest back into the business, then we set aside some cash for the future, and finally if there is money left over after that we pay ourselves as owners.
For many of our staff, their employee-ownership benefits are equivalent to over 13-14% of their base wages. If you divide those payments over their hours worked, for some it equates to over $4/hour. So, a team member who earns a base wage of $20/hour, is effectively earning $24/hour when combined with employee-ownership payments.” That can make a huge difference in the earning power of our employees, and it differentiates Friesens from most other employers. Many of the employee-ownership payments are taxed at a lower rate so not only do our employee-owners earn more…they also get to keep more.
Lastly, as Friesens succeeds so does the community. Our definition of community is broader than just the geographic region that surrounds us. We define community as our neighbours, our customers, our vendors, and society as a whole. We are proud to have increased support for many initiatives in 2021 including the YFC Altona expansion, the Kiddie Sunshine Day Care expansion, and the Altona Library relocation initiative along with numerous other projects. We are proud community supporters!
Looking ahead in 2022, we are very optimistic about the future. Demand for our services remains very strong, we continue to invest in new technology, and our employee-ownership model will continue to deliver great rewards for our owners.