© Scott Anderson
Gord Smith, Will Smith and Jerry Smith cut the cake while surrounded by staff during the W.W. Smith Centennial celebration in Market Square on June 20.
W.W. Smith Insurance and Travel celebrated a century of business in Swift Current during a grand celebration across from their renovated store front on June 20.
Market Square was filled with well wishers during the noon hour celebration of the impact of W.W. Smith's 100 years on Swift Current and area.
"100 years doesn't happen very often. There's not very many businesses that can say that. Being part of the community for 100 years, and being a familiar sign on main street it's just a very good feeling," admitted Gord Smith, the third generation of Smith family members involvement in the business.
He expressed a heartfelt thank-you to their customers and during the day they were able to reminisce with farm customers who have family legacies on the land which date back before W.W. Smith began, along with sharing memories from many long time clients who recalled their first dealings with W.W. Smith when they started their businesses in the community.
"It's a special feeling to be part of the fabric of the community. To have the great staff that we've worked with through the years," he said. "We're really pleased with the turnout and we really appreciate all of the support that we've had over the years."
W.W. Smith had humble beginnings in 1903, with William Wensley Smith setting up shop in Swift Current selling insurance and real estate.
"Granddad started it all off. He was a Confederation Life Agent, he was an agent for savings and loan organizations out of Manitoba, land agent for the CPR. There was lots of hats to wear. You change the hat that you're wearing to go with the times that you're facing. And that's been part of the success of the office through the years."
W.W. Smith has evolved over the years to include what is now Saskatchewan's oldest retail travel agency in Saskatchewan along with offering complete insurance coverage.
With the ongoing evolution of the business, Gord Smith also announced that W.W. Smith will become a fourth generation business.
"There's going to be a fourth generation Smith starting with us in the fall. My son Will Smith he's coming back to Swift Current to make his way in the insurance business," he announced. "We're getting a good community of younger employees in there. We're just trying to get it organized so that they can continue on the legacy and hopefully keep things going for another 100."
Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer saluted the business and their impact in the community during his comments during last Thursday's ceremony.
"It's almost hard to fathom what it would be like for a business to still be around 100 years later and what a proud legacy it is for W.W. Smith and certainly the Smith family. I can't imagine the change that's happened in our community over that period of time, yet they've been something that's been constant and steady and witnessed all that change."
"W.W. Smith has been a huge part of Swift Current in growing our community. They've provided countless jobs over the years, which has contributed to both our economic and social fabric. People have been employed here and contributed to our local economy. But they've also provided great service and business in our community. And finally they've been a huge community builder...they're stepping forward in so many different ways, helping out various events throughout the year which are huge in making Swift Current a fantastic place to live."
Cypress Hills Grasslands MP David Anderson also spoke during the celebration, noting it is remarkable that businesses who set up when people were settling in the region are now reaching their centennial milestones. Their accomplishments, overcoming the challenges during the 1930s and 1940s, are a testament to their hard work, perseverance and dedication.
"I think it's just remarkable that we see businesses that have been in Southwestern Saskatchewan now for 100 years," Anderson said. "WW Smith has been here, established in 1913, has been an integral part of this community for the last 100 years. Certainly the family, and the business in particular, have played a great role in Swift Current."