Manitoba Historical Society
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MHS Centennial Business: Trim Services Limited

Trim Services Ltd., as it is currently known, was established in 1901 under the name of S. Groff & Son. It operated as a manufacturers agent, servicing the garment industry in Western Canada. In its early years, the company was the Western Canada representative for Canadian Buttons Ltd., one of the largest button producers in the British Empire. They also represented many other companies in the needle trade, selling zippers, cotton trimming, pant bindings, buckles and, of interest, ivory and wooden buttons. The company opened an office in Vancouver in 1948.

Bob Groff, the current owner, noted in 2001 that as impressive as it might be to survive 100 years in business, his family has roots in the garment industry dating back to the late 1600s. Hans Groff, one of his first ancestors to come to North America, landed in Grofftown, Pennsylvania and ran a successful business as a middleman handling furs between the aboriginal and expatriate European populations.

When Samuel Groff stepped off the train at Winnipeg on a spring day in 1901, he brought with him two things from his home in Waterloo County: a sample grip of buttons, and a deep desire to start a successful business in the West. In an article written in the mid-1950s, the company was described as having progressed from one man's pioneering effort to the combined services of 20 employees. It has always been a family business with as many as four nephews involved at one time.

The present business of Trim Services Ltd. was started by Allan B. Groff in 1972 as an outgrowth of Groff Agencies, continuing to provide services in the trimming needs of the needle trade. The company was purchased by the current owner, Bob Groff, in 1980 from his father. Bob, following in the long tradition of his family, had started out as a 19-year-old button cleaner in 1978. He continues to run a family-based business, supplying buttons, zippers, fabric, thread, and hangers to the garment manufacturers. Their business was conducted in the Exchange District of downtown Winnipeg, once inhabited by more than 100 garment-industry firms.

The business moved out of its downtown location in 2001 and today, Bob and his wife Lisa continue to operate Trim Services out of their home as a team with no employees. They continue to service some of the heavyweights in Winnipeg's garment industry, including Nygaard International, Standard Knitting, and Western Glove, generating over one million dollars in sales annually for the companies that they represent.

An MHS Centennial Business Award was presented to Bob Groff by Ken Zealand in January 2003.

Page revised: 15 May 2011

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