Above, Matt and Hayley Cooke.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the township’s 2019 Explore North Dundas Spring/Summer Resource Guide. The involved interviews took place in the first quarter of 2019.
CHESTERVILLE — Critical mass for Cooke Scales has come through a combination of excellent customer service and efficient expertise.
Over the last ten years, the proprietors’ competence and hard work in their sector has earned them a great reputation, built largely on word of mouth.
Partners in life as well as business, Matt and Hayley Cooke immigrated to Canada from the UK in 2005, eventually launching their own company within the same industry that already employed Matt in this country and, earlier, across the pond.
With the establishment of Cooke Scales, Matt drew upon years of experience in scale maintenance, starting over 30 years ago as a factory- and college-trained instrument technician employed by a prominent industry brand.
Hayley trained in electronics and avionics in the Royal Air Force. Upon leaving the service, she retrained in business management, which brought broad business management and operational experience to the Cooke family team. Sons Ben and Tom have also joined the roster more recently.
The firm, of course, is known for servicing, repairing and inspecting scales of all makes and types — especially the industrial models that weigh heavy trucks at local grain elevators and quarries. But their work goes right down to the fruit scales at the grocery store, to those that weigh miniscule amounts at the laboratory. The Cookes have similarly proven their worth at Ottawa International Airport, where they’re a trusted contractor caring for almost 100 baggage and other scales.
They sell the full gamut of scale types, sourcing almost any manufacturer’s equipment and — naturally — servicing what they sell.
The couple chose North Dundas for their business’s base of operations in 2014. They explain that with over 65 percent of their customers being in the agricultural business — either farming, supplying seeds, fertilizers etc. — moving to the area simply made good business sense. What they have found is that, yes, North Dundas is a great headquarters for their company as well as a great place to live and be part of a community. Many of their customers are considered friends and the community has embraced them.
Scales need regular maintenance?
The Cookes have a very relaxed attitude to sales; there’s never any heavy sell as their approach is that they provide exactly what the customer wants. It’s all about making “weighing easier,” they say.
Accuracy is paramount for their customers as an inaccurate scale can have a significant business impact.
“Measurement Canada Inspectors have been stepping up their site visits to scale owners throughout Dundas in recent months, and this can be quite a stressful time for business owners as these inspectors have the right to take the scale ‘Out of Service’ until it’s repaired,” Matt says, adding that many scale owners are still unaware “that they remain legally responsible for the accuracy of their weighing and measuring devices between inspections.”
He adds, “We are here to help business owners navigate their scale issues and to take away the worry as we work with Measurement Canada to ensure they conform.”
Observes Hayley, “Some industry sectors have mandatory periods between calibration/inspection visits that must be adhered to. Cooke Scales can help you understand your legal obligations. Regular maintenance is key for any ‘Legal for Trade’ scale to remain accurate.”
These local entrepreneurs are also well versed in keeping devices measuring accurately in Canada’s climate extremes. They advise scale owners to improve the accuracy and the lifespan of their scales by ensuring their units remain clear of ice and snow — as ice build-up often leads to service calls. Not only does it potentially cause damage at the time, it “almost inevitably” introduces moisture into the scale’s critical components when the ice melts. Large industrial scales of the type owned by Cooke Scales’ clients “remain sensitive electronic instruments,” Hayley points out.
“You can rest assured that we will be able to get your scale up and working as soon as possible, and living in the area helps us to respond quickly.”