Recent History – 2000
Oct. 26, 2000, By PRASPS
Plant closures of any sort are never good news for a community. If an enterprise changes ownership and continues operating, however, it’s more or less a case of business as usual.
It’s good for the new owners to get a respected manager who knows the area and its people as part of the deal. That’s the scenario that is being played out as ownership of the United Grain Growers forage and grass seed plant, which has been running for about 15 years in Dawson Creek, shifts to Pickseed.
A UGG employee for 10 years, Gino Morrone has been running the local plant for about 4 1/2 years. Prior to moving here, Morrone resided in Crossfield, Alta., near Calgary.
Completion for the deal hinges upon environmental issues and as of Oct. 20, the deal had not been finalized.
“Nowadays whenever you sell something you have to make sure there’s no soil contamination. I guess we’re leasing the building until formal purchase approval is done,” explained Morrone.
Based in Lindsay, Ont., Pickseed also has operations in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Winnipeg, as well as two affiliated companies in the U.S.
“We buy, process, and sell forages and turf grass, wholesale and retail,” said Morrone adding that customers may be local or international.
Morrone said he has known about the change-over since April 30, which is when United Grain Growers ceased doing business in town at that point he knew he was working for Pickseed.
At present business is good at the plant. “We’re running at capacity right now.”
Morrone said he expects the plant will have a good year. “One of the reasons being the connection with United Grain Growers leaving the area, and myself being the main person for United Grain Growers up here.
Since I’ve moved over to Pickseed, who used to be my competition, I’ve managed to take a good percentage of my customer base with me.”
Qualifying his statement, Morrone added, “they would have got some of that business anyway, just because when there’s a void people have to look for another company to do business with.”
As for the near future Morrone is optimistic as far as volumes go, but as far as pricing goes he said they never know and it’s a guessing game.