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Construction is underway on a $10-million trades-training facility at College of the Rockies’ main campus in Cranbrook.

Cranbrook business expands market reach to Southern Alberta

Major acquisition a testament to region’s connectivity 

Chris Thom standing beside a Western Star truck.
Chris Thom was born and raised in Cranbrook and his company, Rocky Mountain Diesel has been family owned and operated since 1981.

Southern Alberta’s trucking and transportation industry has been top-of-mind for Cranbrook, B.C., business owner Chris Thom, especially in the last couple of months as his company, Rocky Mountain Diesel Ltd. (RMD), neared completion of a major merger.

On May 1, 2018, RMD announced the acquisition of Dunlop Western Star Truck Centre Ltd. in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.

According to Thom, it’s a fresh start, a new beginning for all three locations, which will rebrand to Dunlop Truck Centres. The head office for what is Canada’s second largest Western Star dealer will be Cranbrook.

“The acquisition is a testament to the strength of two strong customer-focused companies,” said Thom. “We are proud of our history and look forward to a bright future with the Dunlop brand and the people who make this company great.”

The merger aims to create stronger brand awareness and superior customer service for Western Star in Southern B.C. and Southern Alberta.

A merger of this size and significance also reaffirms Cranbrook’s integral role along Hwy 3. Also known as the Crowsnest Highway, Hwy 3 is the most southerly of three prime arterial routes linking the prairies to the west coast. It begins in Medicine Hat. The next major city on the corridor is Lethbridge, followed by Cranbrook.

Over 180 different companies (not including transport companies) move cargo through Cranbrook in a single day. The city is home to several different trucking firms. In a 2016 survey, it was discovered that 44.7 per cent of transport vehicles moving through the city had origins in Alberta. The rest come from B.C., followed by the U.S. and other provinces.

Cranbrook is a major transportation hub for goods and people because it is also connected by rail and air, allowing companies like Rocky Mountain Diesel Ltd. to better reach their demographic and expand to target markets.