Leamington mayor "feeling better" after Heinz call

Leamington Mayor John Paterson spoke with H.J. Heinz Co. officials on Friday.

Heinz said to be fielding calls from interested buyers

Leamington Mayor John Paterson was not able to meet face to face with officials from H. J. Heinz Co. in Toronto on Friday as had been planned. But he did speak with Heinz's Micheal Mullen on the phone.

Last week, Heinz announced the closure of its Leamington facility and elimination of 740 jobs in his town. Hundreds of seasonal workers are also affected, in addition to tomato farmers and suppliers.

After the phone conversation Friday, Paterson said he's "feeling better" about the situation.

Mullen told Paterson that Heinz has been contacted about the plant.

"They've had upwards of thirty different enquiries," said Paterson. He added that the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation has probably had contact with that many or more and his office has been fielding calls from interested parties.

According to Mullen, Heinz will definitely not be coming back to Leamington.

"It is a difficult business decision that was reached only after all options were explored and exhausted," Mullen said in an email to CBC.  "While Heinz’s decision to close Leamington is final, we remain committed to an open and honest dialogue with Mayor Paterson over the next several months."

That process will continue.  Paterson said he'll sit down face to face with officials from Heinz Canada in the coming weeks.

However, Paterson said Heinz did not indicate if or when the Leamington plant would be officially for sale.

"That was the end of the conversation," he said.



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