10th Annual Sales Meeting - Messenger Company of Canada, Ltd. Toronto, January 11, 1947.
Messenger Corporation of Auburn, Indiana, was a major supplier of these products and Canada was served by Messenger Corporation Canada Limited, with Mr. W.L. Smith as President. A decision was made in 1948, by Messenger Corporation, to discontinue the Canadian operation after eleven years, virtually putting the Canadian staff out of work. W.L. Smith, along with his brothers, Albert and Hartwill, founded W.L. Smith & Associates Limited on March 1, 1948.
The company first operated out of the recreation room in W.L. Smith's home in Ajax, Ontario. The production facilities were set up in a barn situated on the property. As volume increased, one of the old wartime buildings, left empty when the Defense Industries' shell filling plants closed at the end of the Second World War, was used as the first W.L. Smith & Associates plant. The company would move to 302 Fairall Street in Ajax before moving to their own modernly designed facility at 625 Westney Road South in 1986. The company founder, W.L. Smith died in 1972. He was succeeded as President by his brother, Hartwill Smith, who retired in 1980. Hartwill served as chairman of the board until his death in 1991. The company was taken over by Victor Quinton in the early Eighties. Victor had started as a Sales Representative with the company in 1962.
Victor Quinton sold the company in 1996 to his son, Geoffrey who is now the Chief Executive Officer. With a channel of well trained professionals it has allowed W.L. Smith & Associates to maintain a close to seventy percent market share despite the continual onslaught of competition.
In 1989, W.L. Smith & Associates worked alongside AfterLoss to publish several books. To date, over 500,000 copies have been sold across Canada and the United States. In 1995 the company began publishing grief recovery material for a California based firm called AfterLoss Inc. The aftercare market had become so explosive at that time, that when the opportunity became available they decided, through their parent company, to purchase the AfterLoss Company. That transaction was completed in 1997. The company maintains offices in the Los Angeles area with customers across the United States, Australia, and the U.K..
In late 2000, the AfterLoss Company launched their line of Funeral Stationery, modeled after the W.L. Smith line in order to leverage the AfterLoss brand in the U.S. market. The response was very positive, and they are establishing their market presence with a large upside potential for growth.
W.L. Smith and Associates Limited are constantly involved in the design and production of new items that enhance funeral service. Continually creating benchmark products that have set the standard for others to follow.
In their close to seventy year history, W.L. Smith & Associates Limited has undergone a number of progressions. At present the company is exploring opportunities to diversify its interests into new areas including partnering with their sister firms, with global implications. In the future, they will continue to generate valuable new ideas and concepts for the advancement and enrichment of Funeral Service everywhere.