KENTVILLE - Ninety people will lose their jobs this fall when a pie plant in Kentville shuts its doors.
© John DeCoste
A pie plant in Kentville will be closing its doors this fall.
Geoff Wilson, senior vice-president of communications for Weston Foods in Toronto, said employees of the plant in Kentville were informed March 7 that the company had decided to end production at the facility, which makes a line of frozen pies that customers can bake at home.
“The most significant reason is that most customers of major retailers demand thaw and sell pies, and unfortunately, the Kentville plant doesn’t produce thaw and sell,” Wilson said.
“We took a look at our facilities and it was decided that it was most economical and efficient that our plant in Brampton take on the thaw and sell line. This type of decision is always very challenging and hard to make.”
Kentville Mayor Dave Corkum, who had just learned the bad news, said his first concern was for the impacted employees and their families.
“Being thrown out of work is pretty devastating. Perhaps it's one of the signs of the times,” Corkum said, but the phone call from the plant manager was a complete surprise.
"It's the kind of call you never want to hear. I hope this spring some opportunities open up. I'm very disappointed to hear about it."
Two shifts of workers will be impacted by the closure, expected to take place early this fall.
“We wanted to give our workers plenty of advance notice,” Wilson said. “We’re going to be offering enhanced severance packaged and, if there are other opportunities at our other plants, we’re going to try to accommodate staff.”
Weston purchased the plant from the Sarsfield family in the 1970s and has operated it in the Kentville industrial park ever since.
“This was a difficult decision, it’s been in the Weston family for over three decades,” Wilson said.
Production facilities in Mount Pearl, NL and Amherst, NS will not be impacted by the Kentville closure.
Most of the pies made at the Kentville location were fruit-based, particularly apple pie.
“Apple pies were a given based on where the plant was located,” Wilson said.
He confirmed that the company will continue to purchase local apples for its other production facilities.
“The plan is to continue to source apples throughout Canada and not stop purchasing apples throughout Canada.”