Graeme Weck started this business in our hometown of Patumahoe with a small rural hardware store. Catering for the local Farmer, he stocked a range of kitchen hardware, chicken feed, building materials, blasting powder and ammunition. Graeme had the opportunity to manufacture wooden packaging for export to Japan in 1976-77, constructing the first 250 bins for that season. Today our company has the capacity to turn out 500 bins daily. From his perspective, the opportunity to get involved in packaging manufacturing meant that he could depend on a wider area for his income. Because his premises became too small he leased a small part of what was the old Patumahoe Railway station in 1980. In 1981 the first part of the factory was built and has now grown to some 7000 sq. metres on 4 hectares of company land. At this point Lin Howe took over the management of the store, while Graeme developed the packaging division resulting in produce being exported to Japan, Britain and Europe. As the area's Squash trade grew the company specialised in packaging for that product. The exporting of Pukekohe Onions became the main source of business, and again specialised bins appeared.
Another opportunity arose in 1990 for the company to enter the domestic hire crate service. The new Weck Pack Hire Company was to lead the way in the introduction of a family of National Standard plastic containers for the distribution of fruit and produce throughout New Zealand. This very successful venture became too big for the family company. It rapidly grew to 11 depots throughout the country with over 1 million units of equipment for hire. In 1997, it was sold to General Electric and the company invested in very substantial upgrading of both its retail and manufacturing facilities in Patumahoe. Over the years, his three sons Peter, Michael and Grant have joined Graeme in the management of the business. Today the factory is one of the most modern in the country, providing a safe employee friendly environment and producing highest quality products and services to its customers. As the field is becoming more specialised, waste must be reduced and packaging has to be recyclable. Wecks are approved manufacturers of products registered to meet the UK health and safety regulations and we now make a wide range for the UK and European markets. Research continues, with a large investment in packaging so that it is exactly right for the product for which it is created and always waste is being reduced.
The international reputation for quality has been hard won and will not be relinquished. The store is still there. Today GJ Weck and Sons Hardware is the retail outlet for the company. As well as the usual hardware, the company is heavily involved in the building business. A recent change to meet the market has been a move into contract housing projects. There is a large housing development in Patumahoe and builder's supplies are a big need.
Post and rails are still a big part, with farmers knowing that the prices are as competitive as any they can find in the city. Manager, son Grant, says we hold to the adage "if we ain't got it, we'll get it". There is no doubt that this attitude will ensure that GJ Weck and Sons will continue to prosper far into the future.