First Nation cereal maker set to grow
Rainy River Cereals to build a new production facility in northwestern Ontario
Posted: Feb 4, 2013 2:19 PM ET
Last Updated: Feb 4, 2013 1:21 PM ET
Just like the grains in its wild rice cereal, the owners of a small business on the Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation say they're ready to expand.
The co-owner of Rainy River Cereal said he’s ready to start building a production facility for the company’s gluten-free popped wild rice cereal.A 3/4 cup of Rainy River Cereal popped wild rice cereal provides 200 calories, 4 grams of fat, four grams of fibre, 11 grams of sugar and 6 grams of protein. The cereal is also gluten-free. Company co-founder Andrew Atwell hopes to have a new production plant up and running by the fall. (rainyrivercereal.com)
“Every time something happens with the project I'm doing cartwheels,” Andrew Atwell said.
“My wife's always steady … she balances that out. Even [with] all the ups and downs, the twists and turns in the road, I [still] get excited.”
Atwell said they have been making the cereal in an addition to their home, but they are about to start building a production facility in the First Nation community east of Fort Frances. He said he hopes to have the funding in place — and the plant up and running — by the fall.
The expansion will help Atwell to fully enter the cereal market and fulfill the demands that come with the distribution agreements he has in place.
So far, Atwell said he has conditional funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Funding Corporation and a loan from the Rainy River Future Development Corporation. The money is conditional on Atwell finding a third funder, which he says is currently in the works.
Atwell said he wants to create two full-time jobs and one part-time job and hopes to hire from the community.
"We plan on hiring on-reserve folks here if we can, so that there's benefit to our first nation and the membership as well,” he said.
The site for the new plant is expected to be just off Highway 11, on Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation land.
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