Reimer Family patriarch dies

STEINBACH, Man. — Frank Reimer, a man who helped his son launch what would become one of Canada’s largest and most successful LTL trucking fleets, passed away last week.

Reimer, who with his son Donald started Reimer Express Lines in 1952, died one day after celebrating his 98th birthday.

While he primarily ran a feed mill and popular food supermarket in Steinbach, Man., Frank kick-started the trucking company by arranging loans for Donald, then 19, who started Reimer Express in 1952.

“If he hadn’t had that reputation with the banks, Reimer Express Lines would likely not have been launched,” son Gerald Reimer tells Canadian Press.

Reimer began mainly as a supplemental business to the grocery store — hauling the store’s own goods from Winnipeg to Steinbach. But without a railway through Steinbach, Donald recognized opportunity in hauling goods on a for-hire basis and later expanded the company into one of the first true long-haul operations in Canada.

Reimer’s original route was between Winnipeg and Windsor, Ont. at a time when almost all east-west traffic moved via rail.

The Reimer family sold the trucking company to U.S.-based Roadway Express Inc. in 1997, which merged with worldwide trucking giant Yellow Corp. in 2003. Today, Reimer is one of Canada’s 15 largest for-hire carriers, with a fleet of over 2,000 power units, operating mainly LTL loads across North America. It also provides logistics solutions for import and export shipments.

— with files from Canadian Press

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