Isedor Schmidt Retires
Isedor Schmidt always had a taste for business. When the school-mistress gave him a hard time in the 8th grade Isedor said "To hell with this!" and he struck out into the working world. He soon found his way into the shake and shingle trade in Fanny Bay. Over the years, he worked in mills all over Vancouver Island, gaining skills, before finally deciding to start his own business. Comox Valley Shakes was established in 1968 and started as a small operation along the Puntledge River in the Comox Valley. After several years, it was determined that the Comox Valley location was no longer feasible for the growing business.
In 1971, CVS moved to its current site, on Willis Road in Campbell River. In the early years, the operation benefitted from salvaging blocks from forests affected by fires in the region. Much of the north end of Vancouver Island had been ravaged by a forest fire in the early 1900s. The fire had only left the most resilient cedar trees feeble, but standing. Salvaging blocks from the forest district was extremely hard work. Isedor tells the story of cutting down a giant cedar 30 feet in diameter. It took him a whole week to fall the tree, cut it into blocks and transport it, piece by piece, back to the mill in Campbell River.
The operation grew as Isedor was able to expand the exportation of CV shake and shingle products into new markets in the United States. Isedor's combination of a strong work ethic with a truly entrepreneurial spirit made his business a success in an, at times, fickle industry. His personality and sense of humour will remain legendary within the business for years to come.
Now, at the age of 80, after 65 years in the shake and shingle industry and after 45 years running a successful business, Isedor is retiring. Not an easy retreat for a man so passionate and focussed on his business. But Isedor plans to play more golf, travel in his RV, spend time with his kids and grandchildren, and, overall, enjoy the fruits of his lifetime of labour.