Wednesday, 23 January 2013 09:24

Swift Current business celebrates its century anniversary

Written by  Jessi Gowan
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Gord and Jerry Smith Gord and Jerry Smith Photo contributed

WW Smith Travel and Insurance kicked off their year-long centennial celebration last week, with a ‘Fun in the Sun’ event that brought out Mayor Jerrod Schafer, Executive Director of the Swift Current United Way Darla Lindbjerg, and many other excited patrons and supporters.

“We have a number of activities planned throughout the year, both within the office and with other organizations that we support, as well,” explained WW Smith partner Chuck Audette. “It will be a year-long celebration of our 100th year in business, and should be a good party to the end.”
WW Smith is also celebrating their 65th year as a travel agency, which makes them the oldest travel agency in the province. The business recently had a bit of a facelift, getting back to their roots with a bit of inspiration from the façade style of the 1920s.
“When we started looking at this anniversary, we thought it would be nice to back to a retro look, like some of the other major buildings downtown that have that appealing red brick look that is so timeless,” Audette noted. “The glass is special ordered with a green tint, and our aluminum door handles were special ordered as well, so it did take a bit longer to complete, but we think it turned out really nice. The wait and the extra dollars were well worth it.”
For Gord Smith, seeing how the business has grown over time has been an incredible honor. Although he has put in his forty years in the industry and is looking towards retirement, he is pleased to see that the business is thriving.
“I’ve probably served as long as any Smith in the business, and I hope we continue to employ great staff and provide services to the area for another 100 year,” he said. “I was young when my grandfather left us so I didn’t know him very well, but I do know that he was a tremendous booster for Swift Current and he would be very proud that his business is still ticking after all these years.”
WW Smith’s commitment to business and community was evident through his generous involvement with the city and various organizations. Gord attributes the business’ longevity to his grandfather’s dedication to community, and his ability to adapt to changing times.
“When my grandfather first established the business, they were a real estate company, and represented savings and loans companies,” he explained. “A lot of farmers got their first quarter section of land from borrowing from here, and there are some interesting old stories that they still share with us, when they show up every now and then.”
Following the Lyric Theatre’s centennial last year, WW Smith’s 100th anniversary leads right into another important centennial – Swift Current’s. Mayor Jerrod Schafer is pleased to see this celebration generating even more excitement for the community.
“A business like this builds our community by providing employment for our residents, supporting worthwhile initiatives and organizations within the community, and offering a great product and service for people to enjoy,” Schafer said. “They provide a solid identity for us – 100 years in the community is even longer than we have been a city. Mr. Smith was very committed to growing our community, and I’m enjoying having the chance to learn more about that.”

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