Clearbrook Grain & Milling’s story dates back to 1953, when we were just a small, virtually unknown, independent feed retailer, mixing and selling feed through a toll arrangement with Funks Feeds in Yarrow, BC. A few years later, in early 1956, the company was restructured, leaving only members of the Funk family and Jake Friesen as its shareholders. On February 18th that same year, Jake assumed management responsibilities.
Early growth was steady, but came to a dramatic halt when a fire devastated the plant. Resources were pooled and a new plant was built, one that featured a modern design and central location. This is still the main mill location of Clearbrook Grain & Milling. With this new building came a renewed sense of hope and purpose. The decades that followed were exciting times, as the companies grew and diversified into new industries including broiler and turkey hatching egg production.
Today, we’ve expanded from a handful of employees to a multi-operation company with a crew that’s over 175 strong – a feat that has been achieved through a solid commitment to innovation and hard work. We’ve grown to become one of the leading feed suppliers in the industry, holding our own against major co-ops and national retailers.
Our technical expertise, combined with our industry knowledge and hands-on approach, ensures that our commitment to quality is as strong as ever. We remain highly involved in breeding, hatching, feed-manufacturing and delivery process so we know our customers will continue to receive premium products and service.
In our 60th year of business, Clearbrook Grain & Milling proudly remains family owned and operated, and stands as a symbol of survival, success and strength.
Jake Friesen’s story…
Jake’s father, John Friesen, moved to BC in 1936 during the “Great Depression”, a time of economic upheaval and employment uncertainty. John was fortunate to find work as a night watchman with Echo Poultry Farms, located just a half mile west of home.
This was a difficult job, which included cleaning out the barns at night, but it gave his dad a deep appreciation for cleanliness in the barns and yard. This valuable insight was one that was carried over into Jake’s life when he bought his own operation.
As one of six sons, Jake took an interest in poultry, one that he shared with his father. His dream of owning his own business became a reality in 1953, when Jake purchased a vacant farm on Clearbrook Road from an estate sale, using a $8,200 loan from his father. Jake started the business with 700 chicks that year, a business that expanded to become a farm of 3,000 layers, managed in a barn on Gladwin Road.
At the same time, an opportunity opened up for Jake to get involved in a small feed company to deliver bagged poultry feeds to local farmers. These deliveries were made with a half-ton 1953 Ford pick-up truck – a truck that he still owns and has since restored as a memory of those early years.
In 1956, company restructuring eventually led to a management opportunity for Jake, a role that he has proudly held for 60 years.
“My passion for poultry and farming has deep roots, stemming from a dedicated, hard-working, committed father and from my wife Erna. In those early years, when we were starting out on the poultry farm together, Erna not only raised our five children, but also diligently ran our family farm, doing daily chores and egg collecting. She also found time to participate in many community organizations such as the Ladies Auxiliary of MEI, which was inaugurated in the 1970s to support the school through devotional, catering, decorating and publicity events. Her hard work, and her generous, loving heart, enabled my pursuits and involvement in our local church, the MEI Board, and also industry associations such as the BC Egg Producers and the Pacific Egg and Poultry Producers.
God has blessed me with a good life.”