McCain Pizza sale leaves Grand Falls wondering about jobs

The mayor of Grand Falls is hoping the sale of McCain's pizza business will have little impact on the local pizza plant and its employees.

Mayor is hopeful local plant's new owner, Dr. Oetker, will keep on 248 employees

The Mayor of Grand Falls is hoping the sale of the McCain pizza plant in the small neighbouring Saint-André won't lead to job losses. (CBC)

Residents of northwestern New Brunswick are cautiously optimistic about the sale of the local McCain Foods pizza plant.

McCain announced on Wednesday it has signed a deal with Dr. Oetker GmbH to sell its North American frozen pizza business, including its operations near Grand Falls, N.B., and Lodi, N.J.

Dr. Oetker, a German company, has said McCain employees at both locations will keep their jobs and not lose any seniority.

Grand Falls Mayor Richard Keeley says he hopes that's true.

Any job losses would be a "devastating blow" to the area, he said.

"My community is 57-hundred and six souls. So when you lose 248 jobs, it's gonna have an impact, for sure. And throughout the upper Saint John River Valley," said Keeley.

"We're talking about 248 people, individuals that have positions, that support families. Those positions aren't easily replaced in an area like this."

McCain has provided work in the area since the 1970s.

Keeley says he has heard good things about the new owners and people in the region are looking forward to working with the company.

McCain Foods said pizza represents a small portion of its North American business and the move will allow it to focus on its main product, potatoes.

Earlier this month, the company announced it would close a French fry plant on Prince Edward Island at the end of October, a move that will cost 121 jobs.

McCain said at the time that there has been a shift in demand for its French fries from North America to other parts of the world, which was a factor in its decision.