Update: Totem Building Supplies has recently been aquired by home supply giant Rona. I'm unsure if they'll keep the Totem name, or switch over.

Totem Building Supplies is a company that sells *gasp* building supplies. They operate exclusively in Alberta. I'm working there for the summer.

They specialize in lumber, which was pretty much all they sold back when Cliff Thorogood and his son, Jim opened the first store in 1970, in the Forest Lawn neighbourhood in Calgary.

They opened their second store in Calgary in 1972, and another in 1974. Their mainstays were materials for residential fences, and it's pretty much still that way, although they do a lot of business in deck building packages now.

They've always been focused on lumber, and all their lumber is kept in traditional lumber yards. For some reason their website claims that they do this because lumber was not meant to be subjected to the "continual changes in temperature and humidity" that can happen indoors. Interesting, considering the last time I checked, Air Conditioning was invented for the express purpose of maintaining constant temperature and humidity.

And then there's the fact that pretty much any lumber left outside in the sun for too long will warp like a mother. This often happens to the stuff that we don't use all that often, like the 20 foot 2 x 4s. This'll happen to anything but the pressure treated PWF stuff.

Anyhow, while most of their business is still in lumber, they also have a wide selection of pretty much everything you'll need for a house, plumbing, tools, electrical, etc.

Their logo is like the top of a totem pole with some sort of bird. It's orange.

Oh yeah, and in the meantime they opened a lot more stores. I guess I got sidetracked. They now have 1 store in Airdrie, 4 in Calgary, 1 in Camrose, 2 in Edmonton, 1 in Grande Prairie, 1 in Lethbridge, 1 in Medicine Hat, 1 in Red Deer, and 1 in Sherwood Park. Their warehouse/shipping yard is in Calgary, which is where I work. I'm in the Contract Sales division, where pretty much all we do is ship out lumber to make into new houses.

We're busy. What with Calgary being the fastest growing city in the country.

If you need some stuff, go there. They're pretty nice people. If not, at least they've got free popcorn.

As a side note, for a number of years, Totem sponsored chuck wagon racer Tom Glass, and his son Jason Glass. He was apparently good friends with the owner, Jim. Unfortunately, Tommy died, mid-90's I believe. Jason went and got himself a new sponsor. Currently Tom's old wagon is kept at the yard where I work.

It's the service at Totem... where building begins!
Yay radio ads!

Personal Experience

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