Great Little Box Company (CONT’D FROM PAGE 1 )
He beat everyone on management.’ I didn’t understand what she meant when I was 10 years old, but I get it now,” she says. It was 1982 when Bob Meggy launched Great Little Box Company. “I was working for a packaging company, and I figured, ‘I could do better’, so when another small packaging company went into receivership, I bought it. We had one salesperson, one guy who could operate the ma- chines, and me,” he recalls. 1982 was the year of ET the Extraterrestrial, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and the start of the Falkland Islands War. It was also a time when surging interest rates were shut- tering businesses left, right, and center. “When we were launching, interest rates were over 20 percent for at least seven months,” says Margaret, who used to do the books while the kids played nearby. “I re-
GLBC’s first employee ‘box photo,’ circa 1983.
member one of our competitors saying that it was as if someone had turned the economy’s taps off. It was such a tough time to get something going.”
For Bob, doing better than the guy before him meant weathering a nasty recession while managing people in a particular way. “We started building the culture from day one. It’s about treating people fairly and as equals.” It’s one thing to be treated like an equal. But it’s another thing to be treated like a friend, with genuine curiosity and warmth. According to Margaret, “Bob always drew people in; that was just his personality. He would have Pres- ident’s meetings when he’d meet with every person in the company, eight people at a time. That was especially helpful for the many em- ployees who had immigrated from other coun- tries and felt shy about putting up their hand at a meeting. In Bob’s office, they felt free to speak up.” Tyler Martinuk has worked for GLBC for 36 years as a die cutting machine operator. It’s not hard for him to put his finger on why he never looked for a different job somewhere else. He recalls, “When I started working here, I had gone through a few jobs already. I chose to stay here because they treated me so well, the comfort level was high, and it was excit- ing to be part of a company that was always growing.” Indeed, GLBC was always growing. The years between 1984 to 1998 were the compa- ny’s first period of expansion. During this time, GLBC made its first move to a larger facility, and opened its Victoria, BC, Kelowna, BC, and Everett, WA, branches. Packaging Specialist Christine Bilodeau started working as a packaging specialist for the team in 1994, so she experienced this phase. She says, “When I started out, we were
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May 9, 2022
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