Potato progress

W.P. Grif­fin Inc. cel­e­brates growth while mark­ing a mile­stone.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE -

Over the past 27 years, staff at W.P. Grif­fin Inc. have grown ac­cus­tomed to change.

Com­pany pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager John Grif­fin made the state­ment Thurs­day, fol­low­ing the of­fi­cial open­ing of their ex­panded potato pack­ing plant.

With the ex­pan­sion, com­pleted in early De­cem­ber and now fully op­er­a­tional, the potato wash plant and pack­ing fa­cil­ity in Elms­dale, near Al­ber­ton, has grown sub­stan­tially in size to 38,000 square feet from 25,000.

It al­lows for a pal­let box cold stor­age area at the back where the com­pany can store spe­cialty pota­toes un­til they have the vol­umes to fill or­ders, and a 7,000 square-foot ship­ping and re­ceiv­ing area up front al­low­ing for pack­aged prod­uct to be ef­fi­ciently stored while await­ing ship­ment.

The ex­pan­sion has al­lowed for new ef­fi­cien­cies, such as re­duc­ing down­time by fill­ing larger runs prior to shift­ing over to other prod­uct lines.

"Change is con­stant. There's al­ways go­ing to be small changes, not nec­es­sar­ily big changes," com­pany vice-pres­i­dent and op­er­a­tions man­ager Peter Grif­fin said, re­flected on a se­ries of ad­vance­ments at the op­er­a­tion since 1988.

But the big changes might be over for a while.

"I think, right now, we have a good mod­ern fa­cil­ity that's go­ing to serve our pur­poses well for the next 20 years," said the com­pany pres­i­dent as he watched groups of in­vited guests fan out on tours of the fa­cil­ity.

The lat­est ex­pan­sion, he said, "brings the fa­cil­ity into the 21st cen­tury and gives our busi­ness a clear road for­ward."

The op­er­a­tion av­er­ages around 35 staff year-round, grow­ing to around 50 at peak pe­ri­ods.

Greg Don­ald, gen­eral man­ager of the P.E.I. Potato Board, rec­og­nized the Grif­fin brothers and busi­ness own­ers as lead­ers, in­no­va­tors, good stew­ards of their land and as strong mem­bers of their com­mu­nity and the potato in­dus­try.

"This ex­pan­sion is net an­other ac­com­plish­ment and mile­stone among many over the last 60 years for WP Grif­fin," he said.

ERIC MCCARTHY/TC ME­DIA

Kris­ten MacWil­liams ex­plains the op­er­a­tion of one of the new pieces of equip­ment on the grad­ing line at W.P. Grif­fin Inc.'s wash plant and pack­ing fa­cil­ity in Elms­dale.

ERIC MCCARTHY/TC ME­DIA

Pota­toes come off one of the new pieces of equip­ment at W.P. Grif­fin Inc.'s wash plant and pack­ing fa­cil­ity in Elms­dale.

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