Creating Spaces Where We Love to Spend our Time and Money

Written by Jen Hocken

The creative team at Peregrine designs and manufactures high-end retail and restaurant spaces. It creates beautiful custom millwork, fixtures, signage, and furniture working in an exceptional range of materials.

Peregrine Plastics began in 1977 and was acquired by its current owners in 2012. In 2015, Peregrine acquired Stelmark Products in Burnaby, BC. This acquisition of one of the largest fixture and millwork manufacturers in Canada enabled Peregrine to broaden its expertise to millwork and signage and, keeping previous staff on board, grow to 40 employees.

In 2017, the acquisition of Acorn Wood Designs of Richmond, BC, took Peregrine to 70 employees and its facility in Burnaby to 50,000 square feet. Many Acorn employees relocated from Richmond to Burnaby.

Acorn Wood Designs is an architectural millwork company founded in 1983 and was a complementary fit with Peregrine. Acorn had developed repeat business relationships with The Keg, Joey Restaurants, and Earls Restaurant Group, all of whom it was able to bring to Peregrine, which until then had been known more for its work in retail.

A breadth of capabilities
To its list of skills at this time Peregrine added upholstery services. “The big difference between us and a standard millwork shop is that we offer those diverse capabilities in house,” says Brian French, President of Peregrine. “Normally a millwork shop would subcontract out for metals, upholstery, and glass works, whereas we do it all in house.” The variety of in-house capabilities allows Peregrine to provide customers with the optimal methods of construction, executed in their preferred materials.

This solves the real problem facing some competitors of only being able to execute a project in certain materials because of limitations in equipment and skill sets. For clients of Peregrine, choice of materials and manner of execution will depend entirely on the creative solutions and the preferences of the client.

In the year since the acquisition of Acorn, Peregrine has focused on stabilizing its operation and merging the two cultures. As a fairly young group of individuals, the staff at Peregrine is flexible and open to change. “The ownership group is not from within the industry so I think we might look at things a little bit differently. We have a fun, open culture, but we also really are continuously trying to improve,” says French.

Invested employees
Peregrine also has a company profit-sharing plan that encourages a conscious sense of responsibility and accountability among employees. The idea that employees are largely responsible for the earnings of the company and thus deserving of a share in the profit is felt strongly at Peregrine and is key to employee productivity, loyalty, and retention.

In fact, retaining a skilled workforce is not a major problem for Peregrine – although right now it could easily find place for additional experienced project managers and engineers. But efficient execution of projects is essential.

Millwork, fixtures, and furniture tend to be installed at the tail end of any project and the primary daily challenge for Peregrine is handling delays caused by construction, or unforeseen issues with a landlord. It can be quite a balancing act to keep schedules on course and employees productive in the unpredictable day-to-day and minute-to-minute of a construction site.

Retail growth
Peregrine’s services today cover the west coast of North America and east as far as Toronto and Florida. The restaurant part of the business has remained steady, but lately, the company has seen growth in retail. This is particularly true of the recently legalized cannabis industry, as newly licensed researchers and producers attempt to fill the demand for cannabis products and derivatives.

In the beginning phase of a project, Peregrine’s expertise makes the design process simpler. “We normally work really closely with either in-house designers or designing firms to take something that is conceptual and turn it into something that you can build and then ultimately prototype,” says French.

Peregrine can take an idea from concept to prototype and finally to the finished product. It also regularly works with customers looking to re-brand their product line. Skilled in collaboration, the company is comfortable with any level of involvement with the design process.

As a result of Acorn Wood Designs’ long-term relationship with Earls Restaurant Group, the company recently completed two new Earls restaurants: one in Burnaby Station and the other in West Vancouver. Earls Ambleside Beach is the first Earls to open in British Columbia in almost ten years. Inside the 7,000 square foot restaurant, Peregrine produced most of the millwork and metal work including the bars, the tables, the wall panelling, the doors, and the restrooms.

The high-end Elisa Steakhouse in Vancouver also showcases Peregrine’s abilities. The quality booths, tabletops, wall panelling, ceiling fixtures, wine-decanting stations, and restroom vanities in the 6,800 square foot restaurant all demonstrate the company’s attention to detail.

On the retail side, Peregrine has regular business with Saje Natural Wellness, a vendor of essential oils and skin care products. In 2017 and 2018, Peregrine completed 33 full store rollouts for the Canadian company across North America. “We have a really solid core-group of repeat customers both on the retail end and the restaurant side. For the restaurant side, the core ones are Joey, Earls and The Keg, and then on the retail side, it would be Arc’Teryx, Saje Natural Wellness and we do a lot for Glentel,” says French.

True to its vision
Throughout the years the Acorn brand has won several AWMAC Silver and Gold Awards of Excellence for various projects including Joey Restaurants, The Keg, and Earls. Most recently, it was awarded with the 2018 AWMAC Silver Award of Excellence for its work on the Italian Kitchen in Vancouver.

In the meantime, Peregrine is in the process of examining and evaluating its core values to create a clear vision for the future for the entire team. It remains clear that regular internal development is essential to its success. “We value getting a little better every day; continuous improvement is definitely one of our key values,” says French. “We really believe in ‘measure twice, cut once,’ and that’s kind of our simplistic take on quality.” The company’s take on quality includes implementing Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma practises by reducing waste as much as possible to create value for the customer, increasing sustainability and improving capabilities by effectively solving problems.

Located in the heart of – and part of – Metro Vancouver, Peregrine supports local causes and high schools by donating wood. It also invests in its community by sponsoring interns from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and the Emily Carr University of Art and Design (ECU).

The short term goal for Peregrine right now is to expand its sales in the United States. It is primarily targeting the west coast with a Sales Manager based in San Francisco.

The long term goal is to remain focused on continuous improvement by investing in the most highly advanced technology, especially on the front end for its engineering software and its in-house enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.



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