Local ownership tandem now in place at Grimes Sales & Service (2020)

A well-known Lampman oilfield company has local ownership for the first time in more than six years, and the new owners couldn’t be happier.

Grimes Sales & Service Co. (2020) Ltd. has been bought back from Schlumberger by Stacey Wempe, whose family started and owned the company, and by Kent Lees, who has been with the business for 25 years and has long been the manager.

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Schlumberger purchased the company in March 2014, just before the price of oil plunged, but the business always kept the Grimes name due to the value it had in the oilpatch.

Wempe said it’s been great to be part of the company. She recalls fondly how much it meant to her parents, Mel and Margaret, and her late brother Clinton.

“Mom and Dad worked so hard for what they accomplished, and it’s nice to have it back,” Wempe said in an interview with the Mercury. “It was a good feeling … because Kent and everybody else worked very hard, too.”

Lees said the business has been doing great. It’s been different, but the work they put in was worth it.

“Big companies come and go,” said Lees. “On the good times they’ll show up, and they’ll gobble everybody up, and as soon as it starts slowing down, they either dismantle the company or move on.”

They had seen it happen elsewhere in the community, and didn’t want to see a company like Grimes, with its rich history, shut down.

“We stepped up and inquired if they’d be interested in selling our division back to us,” said Lees.
After nothing happened for several months, Schlumberger approached Lees and Wempe earlier this year whether they were still interested in taking back the company.

Wempe said the talks to reacquire Grimes Sales and Service started before COVID-19 hit, and then Schlumberger made their offer. After back and forth negotiations, the sale was completed in July.

When the Grimes family sold the business in 2014, Mel Grimes noted that if something happened and they could purchase the company back, he would.

Customers have responded well to the sale. It’s been slow getting the word out there about the  change back to local ownership, but those they have talked to are happy.

“We don’t have to ask for permission to move a product or move a part,” said Lees. “If somebody needs something, we can do it and worry about it on our terms.”

Wempe added it’s now operated the way her parents did it.

Grimes Sales and Service continues to have the HG pump jacks, which the company has long been known for. Those pump jacks became a fixture in the Saskatchewan oilpatch. They also have all the parts that go along with them.

Treaters, vessels and fiberglass tanks, rental tanks and trucking services are part of the company. They have nine boom trucks that range anywhere from 30-50 tonnes.

“We have winch trucks, highway trucks, forklifts and skid steers that we need around the yard. And lots of experience.”

Most of their 14 employees have experience that ranges from several years to 20 years. They plan to hire one or two more staff members right away.

“Kent is an awesome manager and partner,” said Wempe.

The business has also remained viable.

“Dad was all about service. We’re honouring everybody and everything. The only thing that’s changed is the name. It’s Grimes Sales and Service (2020),” said Wempe.

The company is also looking forward to being a big part of the community. Lees noted you didn’t always see the Grimes company name on projects they supported, because Mel Grimes didn’t like the attention it brought. But they were always community minded.

“We definitely want to keep that going,” said Lees.

Wempe added that without the support of the community and the employees, Grimes Sales and Service would have never been a viable business.

“It brings this business back to the community. It’s really about the community, and they made the business about the community. The community has been so good to us, it’s like having a family back. The business was kind of like an extension of my mom and dad, so it’s like having that back.”

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