Cole-Munro’s big ex­pan­sion

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - LAURA BROADLEY

Ge­off Cole, president of Cole-Munro Foods, stands at the site where the com­pany’s new fa­cil­ity will be lo­cated in St. Thomas, near the in­ter­sec­tion of Gay­lord Road and Ed­ward Street. The com­pany pro­cesses rain­bow trout/ steel­head.

A sta­ple in Canada’s rain­bow trout pro­cess­ing in­dus­try calls St. Thomas home and it’s set to ex­pand in the city again.

“We are a pro­ces­sor of rain­bow trout/steel­head that is grown in north­ern On­tario,” said president and co-owner Ge­off Cole. “Ba­si­cally, we’ve been in Port Stan­ley and St. Thomas area for 23 years and we are ob­vi­ously grow­ing and have been out­grow­ing our build­ing for quite some time.”

Cole-Munro Foods re­cently started con­struc­tion on its new fa­cil­ity on a 10 acre lot near the in­ter­sec­tion of Gay­lord Road and Ed­ward Street. It will be, at 27,000 square feet, about three times the size of the cur­rent Cole-Munro build­ing. It will in­clude larger fa­cil­i­ties for staff, a lunch room, of­fice area and other ameni­ties.

“It will also take ad­van­tage of state-of-the-art in­no­va­tion, pro­cess­ing and waste­water treat­ment,” Cole said. “We’ll have more mod­ern food pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties for the fu­ture as well.”

When work be­gins in the new plant it will be just over dou­ble the pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of the cur­rent fa­cil­ity.

Cole-Munro Foods started in Port Stan­ley as a small trout pro­cess­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion op­er­a­tion. The com­pany moved to St. Thomas and has grown ever since and is now owned by Su­san and Ge­off Cole.

“We’ve been grow­ing on the sup­ply side for a few years. We’ve been on a lit­tle mis­sion for growth,” Cole said.

Cole-Munro has over 50 em­ploy­ees who will be mak­ing the move along­side the com­pany. Cole said they’ve been slowly ex­pand­ing their work­force over the last num­ber of years, but will still need to hire be­tween 10 and 15 peo­ple once the new pro­cess­ing plant is up and ready.

“By the time this plant opens in the spring, early sum­mer, we’ll prob­a­bly be up 10 to 15 from be­gin­ning to at least the end of the year,” Cole said.

That’s not the end of growth for Cole-Munro. Cole said he hopes to con­tinue the growth pat­tern the com­pany has seen over the last sev­eral years.

“We’re also build­ing this plant for fu­ture ex­pan­sion. The cur­rent foot­print is 27,000 square feet but it can be dou­bled up again with the way it’s laid out on the prop­erty,” Cole said.

As for the cur­rent fa­cil­ity, it will have new life as well. Cole said there are plans to keep the ex­ist­ing plant go­ing but not as a trout pro­cess­ing plant.

“We’ve had some other in­quiries for do­ing other things. I can’t re­ally say what they are at the mo­ment,” Cole said. “We are def­i­nitely keep­ing the old fa­cil­ity go­ing … We’re go­ing to do a part­ner­ship with a busi­ness prob­a­bly in that lo­ca­tion.”

Sean Dyke, gen­eral man­ager of the St. Thomas Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, said the fact that Cole-Munro choos­ing to ex­pand in St. Thomas is a tes­ta­ment to the city.

They’re choos­ing St. Thomas be­cause it’s the right place for them to be.” Sean Dyke, gen­eral man­ager, St. Thomas Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion

“They’re choos­ing St. Thomas be­cause it’s the right place for them to be. They’ve had suc­cess here. Their em­ploy­ees have proven to be good em­ploy­ees for them. And for us, it gives us that level of con­fi­dence to go out and speak with other com­pa­nies to say, ‘Hey, look we’ve got lo­cal com­pa­nies ex­pand­ing. They’re choos­ing to stay here, they’re choos­ing to grow here. Why not St. Thomas for you?’” Dyke said.

LAURA BROADLEY/TIMES-JOUR­NAL

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The de­sign of the new Cole-Munro Foods fa­cil­ity in St. Thomas, which is set to be done in early spring 2018.

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