Riding Out the Recession

The third-generation owners of Rideout Tool & Machine Inc. stay afloat thanks to new opportunities for future growth

Janet Rideout, quality manager, recently became a co-owner in the family business.

Janet Rideout often finds herself gazing at the handwritten notes her grandfather Roland Rideout left behind regarding his thoughts and aspirations for the family-owned business, Rideout Tool & Machine. While these priceless visions have begun to fade away on the yellowed paper on which they were written, Janet and her family are more inspired than ever to ensure her grandfather’s wishes come true.

“Expansion was always important to my grandfather in terms of being able to service our customers better,” says Janet, who, as quality manager, handles quality control at the 62-year-old company.

Founded by Roland Rideout in 1949, the company was first known as Rideout Electric Ltd. and specialized in motor rewinding and electrical contracts. The company was passed on to Roland’s sons in the 1970s, and today Rideout Tool & Machine is a privately owned and operated company specializing in the supply of industrial tools and machinery.

The leadership team includes president Raymond Rideout, vice president Harry Rideout, and branch manager Chris Rideout. In recent months, Janet Rideout has also become a part owner in the company along with her cousin, Craig Rideout, who heads up the machinery division.

“A family-owned business allows everyone involved to take ownership of the company,” Janet says. “My dad started working here when he was 15. I started when I was 16. When your name is on the building, you can bet you want to see it succeed.”

In recent years, Rideout Tool & Machine—which was one of the first companies in the industrial business in Atlantic Canada to get the ISO 9001 certification—has expanded its sales force within the Atlantic provinces to capitalize on growing opportunities outside its locations in St. John’s and Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador; and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

“We are a medium-sized company with a small-business mentality,” Janet says. “Expanding came down to a matter of need. We have always been a healthy operation financially and are always ready to take advantage of opportunities that we are seeing out there.”

Currently, the company is looking at acquisitions. For a company that has grown thus far on its own merit, a potential acquisition would be new terrain, and is especially impressive given that such an expansion would take place during the recession. The Rideout family may be the name behind the business, but it knows the tremendous success wasn’t achieved by the family alone.

“I would have to say our diverse customer base helped us immensely,” Janet says. “Our clients come from a wide range of industry sectors, including retail, machining, oil and gas, government, education, and many more. We experienced firsthand how when some areas would fall, others would boom.”

With this adaptability, a long history, and a talented sales force on its side, Rideout Tool & Machine is well positioned to handle any debacles that come its way. Its example is encouraging, not only for its clients, but for the provinces that it calls home.