The purchase of a single milk truck in 1955 by Fred Prins kick started the long-time family business which has evolved into Prins Brothers Distribution. In 1955, Brooks had around 400-500 homes and Prins delivered bottled milk to the majority of those homes. He continued operating the dairy until 1977 when his two sons, John and Henry, took over and expanded the business into distributing more than just milk. The brothers had a variety of clients from restaurants and stores to hutterite colonies, providing them a variety of food and supplies.
In the last few years, they’ve scaled back and serve primarily small businesses and hutterite colonies. They’ve diversified by distributing new products such as ice, and if they have any remaining stock, they’ll sell it to the public. The brothers said that they do not purchase the products they distribute, they manage the inventory.
That one milk truck evolved into three distribution trucks. The brothers take turns waking up at 3 a.m., 3 times a week to be at the Brooks location for product arrivals at the distribution centre – located at 1303 Centre Street. One day, says the brothers, they’ll consider selling the business. Both have families and grandchildren that they’d like to spend more time with. Their wives are also instrumental in running the business – John’s wife Cathy can be found in the office managing their bookkeeping.
The history of this family runs deep throughout the Region. Many members of their family operate their own businesses and entrepreneurship is in their genes. Fred was highlighted by the Brooks Bulletin back in 2005 – a must read as it explains how the family was sponsored by another local family when they immigrated to the area in 1952 from Holland.