Willow Brae Pallets emerged from the soil of a Waterloo County farm that was struggling to survive in farming during an agricultural crisis in the early 70’s. Small farmers were unable to withstand the costs of achieving efficiency on their farms in order to compete with large corporate-type farms. Many small farmers abandoned farming altogether. John Weber, a local farmer and sugar bush operator who was desperately searching for a way to keep his heritage farm in the family despite new innovations and competition was blindsided by an idea so innovative, it defines the word itself. Fixing and re-selling pallets.
Wooden pallets discarded at local businesses were proving useful for John at the time. He would pick them up with a tractor and trailer and bring them to the farm to be burned in the sugar shanty. John saw an opportunity to repair and re-sell these pallets. This idea, as rudimentary as it was, was an original and timely concept. Willow Brae Pallets was the first pallet recycling company in the area. This innovative, auspicious idea, that struck this small-time farmer, delivered Willow Brae Farms from an untimely demise.
Today, Willow Brae Pallets is operated by John’s son Robert who has worked in the business since its inception in 1972. Willow Brae Farms continued the lineage, and today, operates as an Ontario Maple Syrup Producer owned by Robert’s brother John Jr, John Sr. and his wife Pat continue to reside on the farm. John, now 81, is proud of the fact that he has lived at the same address with the same phone number his entire life.
Forty years later, we are taking the opportunity to celebrate! We are celebrating our business, where it came from, where it has been and where we are going.