Friday, June 25, 2010

Big Business in Chilliwack

B & K
The Brackman - Ker (B & K) Milling Company originated prior to 1878 when Henry Brackman and James Milne formed a business partnership. In 1878 they started to manufacture oatmeal, however, the partnership was short lived and the company was dissolved in 1879. In 1880 David Russell Ker joined Henry Brackman and the resultant B & K partnership was very successful. By 1886 their prosperity allowed for the construction of warehouses and offices in Victoria which became the company's business center. By 1914, after David Russel Ker had become the principal owner, upon the death of Henry Brackman in 1903, the annual business had increased from $25,000 per annum to $5,000,000 per year.

In 1928 the Brackman - Ker Feed & Milling Company acquired the three locations of the Chilliwack Producers' Exchange established in June 1913. With the acquisition of the three Chilliwack plants, B & K holdings in the province of British Columbia rose to 20 plants. During the conversion from the Chilliwack Producer's Exchange to B & K, several retail goods were discontinued. The new business eliminated the sale of drygoods, hardware and shoes. Instead they concentrated on the sale of flour and feed, poultry and stock supplies, fertilizers and sprays.

Later B & K amalgamated with Western Canada Flour Mills and the company had branches across Canada including grain elevators, flour mills and feed mills. David Russel Ker died in Saanich July 13, 1923. By 1965 the Brackman - Ker Milling Company had become a division of Maple Leaf Mills.

Image: B & K poultry feeder from the Nelson Johnston farm on Chilliwack Central Road.

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