The Sarsfield Foods Ltd. frozen pie factory in Kentville will close, putting 90 people out of work. The company made the announcement to employees today.
The plant produces frozen, unbaked pies. It's been operating as a subsidiary of George Weston Ltd. since 1979. Prior to that, it was owned by the Sarsfield family.
"It's one of the toughest decisions we face," said Geoff Wilson, a spokesman for George Weston Ltd.
"We regret the personal impact that this closure will have on our employees and we are committed to providing support and resources to those affected."
Wilson said some of the 90 employees who will be laid off may be able to transfer to another George Weston factory in Amherst.
The company hasn't set a date for closure, but Wilson said it will likely be in the fall of 2016. The company plans to ramp up production at its plant in Brampton, Ont., as it winds down the Kentville facility.
"We've decided to put this capacity into our Brampton facility, which is best suited to add the capacity and related equipment to capitalize on this business trend," Wilson said.
The company blames shifting market trends. The Sarsfield factory produces unbaked pies. Wilson said customers now prefer pies that are already baked.
"This facility makes unbaked pies that require baking in store," said Wilson. "That requires incremental labour, of course, and with technology being what it is today, most of our customers now are moving to thaw and sell."
Wilson said the company is committed to keeping its Amherst facility open. That facility is a Weston Bakery that produces fresh rolls and bread.
Wilson said employees are being given extensive notice and will be offered severance packages.
The mayor of Kentville, David Corkum, says he is disappointed by the closure.
"It's a loss for Kentville but more so for the whole valley area because these people don't just live in Kentville, they live throughout the valley. It's all the communities, so we need to all pull together and make the best of it," Corkum said.