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R. French Transport is an important business for Arcola area

Company has served southeast Saskatchewan for decades.
R. French Transport in Arcola
Together with wife Colleen, Ralph French operates R. French Transport in Arcola.

ARCOLA - Ralph and Colleen French have owned and operated R. French Transport for nearly 20 years. 

Their company delivers hot and cold fresh, filtered water, saltwater emulsions, and chemicals to the oil patch. They have one of the largest fleets of fresh hot or cold-water only tankers in southeast Saskatchewan. 

Ralph and Colleen met in the Northwest Territories and were married in 1984. Ralph was a safety supervisor and airplane pilot and drove truck on the ice roads in the wintertime. In 1985, they moved to Oxbow and then to Alida where they were employed by Jim and Mary Boettcher, owners of Three Star Trucking.  

Ralph worked in the oilfield as a truck driver and Colleen as an administrator. 

In 1994, they moved to Arcola and purchased their first semi-tractor in 2003. In the winter, French hauled fuel in the Northwest Territories and in the summer hauled liquid fertilizer.  

The early 2000s were good to the couple and their business rapidly expanded. In 2005, they purchased a shop in Forget. On Jan. 31, 2013, on what was the coldest day of the year, renovations to the shop were nearly finished when a fire completely destroyed the premises. 

They then decided to move and purchased a shop in Arcola on the north side of Highway 13 where they operate from today. 

For the past 20 years, business has been good but like everyone else, the decline in oil activity that began in 2014 affected their volumes. However, French has a noticed a pronounced uptick in business in 2021-22.  

“There is a lot more oil activity in the area,” he said. “We have a number of loyal customers that have stood with us through both the good times and bad. We now have over 20 hardworking employees that are the best in the business.” 

Ralph and Colleen have two daughters. Jamie-Lee is a senior engineer with Crescent Point Energy in Weyburn. TaraLyn lives in Calgary and is a registered nurse. They have three grandchildren. 

The Frenchs live on an acreage a few kilometres north of Arcola. They head south to Arizona for the winter. Pickleball is Colleen’s favourite sport while Ralph enjoys motorcycling, training horses and team roping.  

Regarding team roping, the Manitoba Team Roping Association holds their annual event in Austin. Last year, French and Carlyle’s Ward Cutler won the Finals Number 8 event. This past weekend, he was paired with Tanner Rutten of Redvers, and they placed an impressive fifth among the 123 teams entered.  

R. French Transport donates to many organizations and events in the area.  

“Arcola is a great community, and we are proud to call it our home,” said French. “We have a great customer base and a lot of great employees, some of whom have been with us for years. We are very happy to operate a successful company here in southeast Saskatchewan.”