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The Comeback of McMunn & Yates

After Fire Takes The Building, Management Looks at Crisis as an Opportunity
The fire of McMunn & Yates, Thompson, MB.

Still fresh in our minds is the smell of smoke and the fire glow of the Thompson sky as the McMunn & Yates Building Supplies thickened the air with the blackened sulfur.  Today we remember back that Saturday night, July 9, 2023, as we wonder how a business that undertook such a hit can be coping.


When asked about the possible struggles they may have taken on, General Manager; Dave Krobel surprisingly refereed to that series of unfortunate events as a “Blessing in Disguise” saying there were actually no real struggles pertaining to that day.


While the rest of us may have been momentarily in shock it can be hard to grasp the concept in which Krobel is coming from.  Krobel continued to elaborate on his unique choice of words, saying that due to previous fires McMunn & Yates Headquarters dealt with in Steinback and Eriksdale they knew how to handle the aftermath of the fire and made things run as smooth as possibly for the local Supply store.


Within the same week of the building going up in smoke head office came to Thompson to help organize the chaos in inventory count, reporting the loss and searching for a new location.


Before the week had a chance to conclude, fate had it Ford was moving to a new building leading an open opportunity for McMunn to quickly start up operation once again.


Reflecting this recent blurry memory Krobel stated that one thing that did stand as a challenge was the excessive inventory drop.  Where they once housed 8,000 retail is now only 1,000, loosing roughly 7 out of 8 SKU’s (Stock Keeping Unit), making them carefully break down their inventory to the bare necessities.


Typically such an incident would be hard on job security, but amazingly enough they didn’t let a single staff member go during the entirety of that time.


From the moment fire took the shop to the grand opening of the new, temporary location was a total of six weeks, officially opening up the doors middle of August.  Currently setting in motion the plans of a brand new building looking to be rebuilt in the Spring on the foundation of the previous location of McMunn & Yates.


Now with the fire behind them they can look to a brighter future, anticipating updated features they only previously wished for, such as a bigger shipping bay where they’re not limited for space, or even the placement of the entry door from the corner to the side, also to save space.


“It’s going to be a little bit of a challenge building and running a yard side by side” Krobel admitted.  And with the retail funds down handling lower stock, building financial support may prove to be a difficult process as well.


The efforts of the local business can be appreciated by the local builders or industrial corporations in demand of urgent supplies, being that they were available sooner then expected.  We can trust there being no lag in their transition to their new building once that comes.


~Matthias J. Johnson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Thompson Citizen.  The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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