Cumberland Crate Company: One Island Entrepreneur’s Quest for the Quintessential Canadian Dream

From packaging to philanthropy? Might not be the pipe dream it sounds like.

Rena Siddall / 22 March 2019

Cumberland Crate Co. street gang - Photo Cred. Karen McKinnon

The owner of Cumberland Crate Company has big dreams.

Big ol’ Canadian-sounding dreams. Complete with donuts and fresh pow. (The cold, snowy kind- completely unrelated to donuts). When we asked the owner, Archie Pateman, if the Cumberland Crate Company were to live out its dream, what it might look like, he answered, “there would be a Cumberland Crate Co. retail store in major cities across North America, with 2 or three manufacturing facilities (in Canada), filled with happy, well-paid employees cranking out sweet designs and coming up with new ideas. As for me…I’d be cruising by each store and facility, dropping off donuts, giving out high fives and heading to the nearest mountain to think of ways to help the world while slaying bike trails or skiing powder. I dream of being successful enough to be philanthropic.”

Me too, Archie, me too. While it might seem farfetched for a small-town crate company to one day support a life of knee-deep powder and philanthropy, it might just one day be the life Pateman is living.

A straight-up Canadian recipe for success.

Cumberland Crate Company opened back in 2013 when the, then co-owners, saw a gap in the packaging industry, “we saw a hole in the market where handmade quality wooden crates should be. We started with crates and have expanded to include an array of custom wooden products as well as design services.”

Essentially Pateman and his then co-founder put into play Millennial Entrepreneurship 101.

  1. Fill a niche.
  2. Build demand.
  3. Market it to millennials. 
  4. Innovate.
  5. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Their wooden crates and custom designs are all made using B.C., locally-milled timber, and business is doing so well that it generally comes to them. They’ve grown from your basic 4-sided crate shop to a business based in design. Pateman says a big part of their trade is now “helping retail stores, product manufacturers and restaurants outfit their establishments and display their goods.” While Pateman has now taken over sole-ownership and they’ve shut their doors in Cumberland (the store was only open for a year), business is not slowing down.

They’ve gone back to their roots and build to order. They get custom orders daily. You want custom? Consider it done. “Give us your vague idea, some dimensions and stylistic input, and we provide you with digital renderings, estimated cost and fast timelines.” Two of their biggest clients are the multi-national Lush Cosmetics and Marriott Hotels. But they also supply smaller chains and stores like Cascadia Liquor Stores, Fairway Markets, bike shops, real estate agents and smaller one-off shops like Red Cat Records in Vancouver or Rusty Rooster in Cumberland to name a few. 

Archie Pateman of Cumberland Crate Co. - Photo Cred. Karen McKinnon

It may seem similar to any other packaging business; but whether intentionally or not, they’ve taken the evolved millennial yearning to support local, ethical and sustainable products and parlayed that to selling their crates in every fashion imaginable. Pateman is committed to durable and sustainable alternatives to the cheaper, but notoriously eco-evil, plastic options.

“We're bridging the gap between over-priced antique crates, and short lived plastic ones.”

Archie Pateman

Cumberland Crate Co. truly covers all the bases: wine crates, lost & found bins, display shelving, bike crates, plain ol’ regular crates. They’re not stopping there either, Pateman explains, “the world of product display and retrofitting retail and eating spaces is calling us. Everything from produce bins in grocery stores to trestle style farmhouse tables in restaurants. We can easily accommodate custom needs, and our design team is becoming famously fun and easy to work with!” Not to mention they’re not afraid to poke a little fun at themselves.

“Tired of chaining your baby down (with rusty, heavy chains) to one of those jagged, sharp, UGLY plastic baby change stations? Fear not you great parent, you! Our baby change stations are carefully hand-made with love using real wood, no toxins and an organic baby change pad. Poop is bad enough... why add danger and disgrace?”

They even offer baby changing stations.

I’m not going to lie- it’s hard to disagree with Pateman. It sounds like a pretty easy-to-work with model. Plus, as a parent, you sold me at not chaining your baby down. The Cumberland Crate Co. is everything I’d want my own consumer product store to be. Friendly, fun, successful enough to consider expanding but still approachable enough to cater to custom designs while filling locally-owned stores with a locally-made and manufactured product.

With or without the expansion across Canada, the freedom to rip up the mountains or ability to pay-it-all-forward, I’d say Pateman is pretty near living the dream.

Rena Siddall /

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on email

120 thoughts on “Cumberland Crate Co

  1. Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any methods to prevent hackers?

  2. First off I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question which I’d like
    to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I’ve had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out.
    I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are
    lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
    Thank you!

  3. Hello There. I found your weblog using msn. That is a
    very well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your helpful information. Thank you for the post.
    I will definitely return.

  4. My partner and I stumbled over here different web page and thought I
    may as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just
    following you. Look forward to exploring your web
    page for a second time.

  5. Cumberland Crate Co | The Port & Barrel
    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you, However I am experiencing problems with your
    RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having the same RSS problems?

    Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  6. Cumberland Crate Co | The Port & Barrel
    I’m curious to find out what blog platform you happen to be utilizing?
    I’m having some minor security issues with my latest site and I’d like to find something more safe.
    Do you have any solutions?

  7. Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they plainly don’t know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and
    also defined out the whole thing without having side effect ,
    people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more.

  8. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the
    page layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got
    to say. But maybe you could a little more
    in the way of content so people could connect with
    it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  9. Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff
    from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.

  10. Hey! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which
    blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting fed up of
    Wordpress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.
    I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a
    good platform.

  11. Hello there, I found your site by way of Google at the same time
    as looking for a related subject, your web site got here up, it
    appears great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hello there, simply became alert to your weblog via Google, and located that
    it’s truly informative. I am gonna watch out for
    brussels. I’ll appreciate for those who proceed this in future.
    Many other people will be benefited out of your writing.

  12. Its not my first time to pay a visit this site, i am visiting this
    web page dailly and take fastidious data from here all the

  13. yet track sale generic viagra online pills easily location nearly wash generic viagra sales basically breast
    such diamond viagra far reaction [url=]generic viagra sales[/url] physically carry
    sale generic viagra online pills simply hospital

  14. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after going through some
    of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly delighted I
    came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking
    back often!

  15. yet death viagra without doctor prescriptions always
    peace directly strike generic pills in usa along solution basically pace viagra without perscription suddenly tree [url=]cheapest generic viagra[/url] simply
    ease cheap viagra usa without prescription automatically physics

  16. normally question generic cialis sales in us cool focus
    buy generic cialis online cheap successfully clerk order cialis online with prescription when kick [url=]india cialis generic[/url]
    below temporary cialis for sale down unit

  17. Extraordinarily satisfactory article . I couldn’t coincide more on the message provided.

    What do you reflect on around my placement ? 123movies

  18. Cumberland Crate Co | The Port & Barrel
    Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?

    I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


* indicates required