A Port Alberni business has been awarded $10,000 from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to help them overcome challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.
DBA Silencing is a privately-owned company headquartered in Port Alberni—it is part of Archie Cardinal’s stable of businesses, and is located in the same compound as Handy Andy Rentals at 4917 Burde Street. DBA Silencing was one of Cardinal’s first businesses along with Handy Andy—he also owns, among others, Slammers Gym and the Italian Canadian Events Centre, both on Sixth Avenue.
“We do work for the logging industry and fishing industry, but mainly we make exhaust systems for the mining industry,” said Darien Edgeler, who manages DBA Silencing with his wife, Cydney Pedersen.
“We’ve definitely experienced a downturn in orders. The order board is looking pretty empty these days.”
DBA Silencing isn’t as well known locally, says patriarch Cardinal, but it has a worldwide reputation. “Our biggest single order was to New Guinea,” he said. “We ship primarily to the United States, but we do ship all over the globe.”
The company started as a muffler shop 40 years ago, then Cardinal—who moved to Port Alberni 38 years ago—saw all the tugboats working in coastal waters and began supplying mufflers to the tugs. Then he discovered locomotives used the same parts, only larger, and then trucks.
“Our first big fleet was the Department of Highways; they had new trucks,” he said.
Eventually, DBA Silencing began serving the mining industry; by then, the company was experienced at providing equipment for large engines such as those used in mining machinery.
Cardinal and his wife Shirley ran the business for many years, then handed it over to their daughter Tina. Cardinal’s granddaughter, Pedersen, is the third generation to run the company.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Edgeler and Pedersen applied for federal funding for the companies that qualified, so they could pay their employees. Since mining operations were permitted to continue working, and DBA Silencing’s components are considered essential, they were able to keep working. Edgeler looked for other possible sources of funding, and saw a link in an Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce newsletter for the Canadian chamber grant.
“How we found out about it is the AVCOC is doing an amazing job getting the word out about funding options,” Edgeler said. Businesses that stayed open during the pandemic but were affected by an economic downturn were eligible, so Edgeler applied.
Having a Port Alberni company chosen for this national grant is a coup, says Bill Collette, CEO of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce. “I do know that 1,100 businesses from across the country applied, and six were selected.”
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce grant is one of many available to businesses to help them get back on their feet following COVID-19 closures. One just has to know where to look—and that’s where Collette comes in. “There’s a lot of opportunity out there through this whole COVID-19 crisis, but you do have to apply,” he said.
“I’m just thrilled about it, a) that businesses applied and b) that this business through Darien’s application got recognized. It motivates me to continue looking for this kind of information and continue broadcasting it to businesses.”
Edgeler said DBA Silencing will use the grant to do some customer outreach, spreading the word that they are open and their insulated system for mufflers is available. “We have a unique proprietary product here and we produce it right here in the Alberni Valley.”
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