Love the Cranbrook life

This businessman embraces his community
by Danielle Cameron

Headshot photo of Chris Thom. Chris Thom is proud of his Cranbrook roots, and his quality business.— Photo courtesy Chris Thom
Chris Thom is the CEO and manager of Rocky Mountain Diesel Ltd. Collision Repair Centre in Cranbrook’s industrial park. He was born and raised in the community, and has been living there for 34 years. We asked him a few questions and he took the time to tell us what he loves about living in Cranbrook.

What made you decide to do business in town?
I come from a family of local business people. My parents, and several of my aunts and uncles, own or have owned small businesses in Cranbrook. My wife’s parents and several of her relatives have also owned businesses in Cranbrook. Three years ago my wife and I took over my parents’ company. It was a difficult decision based on many factors but we haven’t looked back. We are so thankful to have had this opportunity.

What do you like most about our community?
I personally enjoy the small-town atmosphere. Clients of our company have also become friends. This leads to relationships which are not all business—our customers rely on us, but we also rely on them. It really becomes more of a partnership, businesses helping businesses.

Do you have any business projects or developments planned for the future?
In April of 2010 we completed a major expansion, adding an automotive and commercial vehicle body shop to our company. This was an 8,000-square-foot addition to our 15,000-square-foot facility. To date we have added eight full-time positions and are currently seeking some additional staff. I am extremely proud of this facility and very excited that it has opened up a new market for us. As for the future, we will continue to look for opportunities to grow and diversify our company.

What kind of leisure/recreational activities do you enjoy when you are not working?
During the winter months we enjoy skiing as a family. We are so lucky to live in a region that offers so many outdoor opportunities.

What would you say to other business people who are thinking of moving to Cranbrook?
I find the business climate in Cranbrook to be extremely supportive. Our chamber of commerce is a strong advocate in the region. We also have organizations such as the Downtown Business Association—they are doing wonderful things to support local business and have implemented some very strong shop-local initiatives.

Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
Cranbrook and the East Kootenay region as a whole in my mind is probably the most beautiful place on the planet. We have access to many big-city amenities, and yet we have retained our small-town feel. Cranbrook is a fabulous place to raise a family, and we have some of the world’s most sought-after outdoor recreation—most of it within 30 minutes of our front door.