New Brunswick

Superior Tanks lays off workers in St. Stephen

Superior Tanks Ltd. in St. Stephen laid off employees on Monday.

Manufacturer of steel oil tanks was acquired by Quebec-based Granby Industries in January

The primary focus at Superior Tanks Ltd. in St. Stephen has been on residential oil tanks. (Superior Tanks Ltd., St. Stephen)

Superior Tanks Ltd. in St. Stephen laid off employees on Monday.

​Worker Hollis Bartlett confirmed there were "a lot of layoffs" at the steel oil tank manufacturer, which was acquired by Granby Industries in Quebec in January.

Company officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but an administrative assistant in Quebec also confirmed the layoffs to CBC News.

Some people who were peeking out of windows and doors of the St. Stephen building during the afternoon were visibly near tears. 

As of 4:30 p.m., only five vehicles were left in the company parking lot on Progress Drive.

Superior Tanks is described on its website as a "fast growing" steel tank manufacturer with more than 75 years of industry experience.

Its primary focus has been on residential oil tanks, according to the website.

"The company is known in the industry as a North American leader, for its high quality standard and reliable products," it states.

In 2012, Invest NB provided a $100,000 forgivable loan to Superior Tanks to expand its workforce, adding 13 new full-time positions to the existing seven employees.

The company was formerly known as Crown Tanks of Canada Ltd. but was purchased in 2011 by Vilco Ltd., a company based in Waverly, N.S.

In 2015, Vilco Ltd, which manufactures fibreglass residential oil tanks and aquaculture tanks as well as overhead canopy signs for gas stations, announced it was expanding its operations and creating up to 40 new jobs in St. Stephen.

Opportunities NB provided Vilco with a $321,000 forgivable loan.

The company, which employed six people at the  time, had purchased a $275,000 building and planned to invest up to $750,000 in new manufacturing equipment.

With files from Shane Fowler