With an ever-growing client list, it’s clear to St. David’s Cold Storage president Alfred Dyck that the business has room to grow — including the size of its floorspace.
“Everyone’s got to put something somewhere,” Dyck said.
“(Customers) depend on us for the receiving of goods and we move the food out of here right into their production lines every day.”
The company, which provides the cold storage of food for commercial clients across the Niagara region and Canada, is in the midst of a $9-million expansion of its Four Mile Creek Road facility.
The first phase of what will be a 60,000 square-foot expansion is nearly complete with the second phase slated to begin in the spring.
When all is done, storage space will increase to 130,000 square feet, nearly double the current size of 70,000.
Last week, St. Davids got a bit of help from the province in the form of a $1.3-million interest-free loan that will help pay for the expansion.
“It’s going to help us expand so that we don’t have to say no to so many manufacturers that we do right now because we don’t have the space to accommodate them,” Dyck said.
The business has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the wake of the CanGro food canning facility pulling up stakes and leaving town in 2008. The storage company took over CanGro’s facility after that.
“We started here with a 30,000-square-foot cooler,” Dyck said. “Paul Bosco (Sr.) from Chateau de Charmes was one of our first customers and started with products he didn’t have room for.”
From there, the search was on to find more clients.
“We just knocked on a few more doors and we installed freezers and so we went from just wines to fridges and freezers so we can accommodate all the different food sectors.”
Since then, St. David’s Cold Storage has gone from serving the wine industry to sectors across the food and beverage sector.
“It’s probably 50/50,” Dyck said. “It’s still the wine industry, the juice industry, food industry cherries, peaches.”
Dyck expects growth to continue for the business, saying that as long as businesses are producing perishable goods, there will always be a need to find a place to store them while they await delivery to businesses, and eventually consumers.
“People that are manufacturing here have to drive to Toronto to store their goods,” he said. “And that’s why we’re so successful, because there is no frozen storage in the Niagara region.”
The loan is part of the $140 million the province is investing in manufacturers across Ontario through the government’s Regional Development Program. So far, $140 million has been doled out to 100 separate projects.
Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, called Niagara’s manufacturing community “robust” as a result of businesses like St. David’s Cold Storage choosing to invest in their growth. The province, he added, can help with those investments.
“We can be confident that our targeted approach to fostering stability and growth across our economy is working,” Fedeli said.
Other Niagara businesses receiving loans in the latest round of funding included Stanpac, a manufacturer of dairy food and beverage packaging located in West Lincoln ($3.3 million) and AMSI in Beamsville, which designs and constructs e-houses, a prefabricated building that houses electrical equipment for a wide range of industries ($2.1 million).