SALMON ARM – Family-owned Rupp Metalworks has been creating customized solutions for over 23 years
Owned and operated by Tony Rupp and Colleen Cody-Rupp, the metal fabricators bring decades of experience in metalworking and blacksmithing to contractors, manufacturers and homeowners alike.
“I completed a metalworking apprenticeship in Switzerland, building stainless steel tanks, primarily for the chemical industry,” says Tony. “During this time, I did a lot of blacksmithing on the side, and I developed a bit of a passion for it.”
After several years in Switzerland, he decided to move to Canada, first working on a farm in Ontario, then moving to BC. While visiting various towns in the interior, Tony decided to move to Salmon Arm, where he spent some years at a company building log homes.
In 1995, he founded Rupp Metalworks, combining his skills in metalwork, blacksmithing, and construction. Today, the team includes Tony, Colleen, and three skilled tradesmen. They are always up for a challenge, especially when it comes to custom metalwork projects.
“Tony works really well with clients who need unique solutions for their projects,” says Colleen. “He doesn’t just give a quote on a client’s project. He looks at it critically, giving input for the best possible solution. He’s always looking for ways to improve the concept, whether it’s for a homeowner or somebody building parts for a new marina system. He’s always looking to make projects the best that they can be.”
As the company’s reputation for customized metal projects has grown, clients throughout BC and Alberta have sought out their services. At one point, the company was hired to build hidden doors, railings, and other custom metalwork for a client in New York.
“With everything we do, we pay attention to details to make the best possible product,” says Tony.
In 2010, the company moved from the Rupp’s home property into the Salmon Arm Industrial Park, which is home to 81 unique businesses. This move meant that the business was closer to its clientele and this enabled Rupp Metalworks to develop strategic partnerships with neighbouring companies.
“Since we moved to the industrial park, we’ve developed a nice network of trades in our area, including businesses that offer powder coating, machining, water jet and plasma cutting, and more,” says Colleen.
Tony, Colleen, and the team work closely with several companies in BC’s Interior, including European Timberframe Corp., International Timberframes Inc., Landmark Solutions and Pacific Timber Frame.
“We met Chris Pickard from Pacific Timberframe around 2006 when we worked with him on a project of his in New York,” says Colleen. “We’ve developed a strong relationship with him, and now he regularly works with us drawing up designs, assisting with design processes, and more. Neither Tony or I have computer drawing capabilities, but Chris does. He understands the construction process as a timber frame builder, and when we work with him on designs, he just gets it. Our complimentary skills benefit both businesses.”
Though the company began with a heavy focus on the residential market, it has grown to include industrial and commercial projects, as well as manufacturing several products for sale (including the Mongolian Grill and the Out West Fire Pit BBQ). “We’ve made a shift,” Colleen remarks. “Residential work used to be most of what we did, but now, it’s roughly 30 per cent. We’re working more in industrial areas, for example, taking on projects with our timber frame associates for institutional structures in BC and Alberta.”
“Moving forward, we want to diversify even more, taking on more industrial jobs,” says Tony. “Recently we did some work for BC Hydro, building a generator shed in Revelstoke. Because we are certified with CWB (Canadian Welding Bureau), we are able to get jobs like that. We are certified to CSA Standard W47.1 in Division 2 in the welding world, and have a welding engineer on retainer, so we are capable of taking on some substantial projects. We’re also working with a sawmill manufacturer, building some of their components.”
Tony concludes, “We value precision and craftsmanship. We surround ourselves with like-minded people who care about what they do every day, and I think that’s why we’re continuing to thrive after 23 years.”