Thunder Bay

Global Sticks manufacturing plant shuttered

The Global Sticks manufacturing plant outside Thunder Bay closes after less than two years, throwing 75 people out of work.
Global Sticks, which made novelty wood items such as popsicle sticks, has closed. (Gary Rinne/CBC)

There's no sign of life at the Global Sticks manufacturing plant outside Thunder Bay.

The doors are locked, there is no smoke from the chimney, and no vehicles in the parking lot.

A sign on the door says the company's assets are now in the possession of a receiver, Grant Thornton.

Natural Resources minister Michael Gravelle said Friday that the news was disappointing.

"The mill has been shuttered. I understand the workers have been told the plant is closing, at least for this period of time, and obviously, it's not a good day".  

Global Sticks opened with much fanfare in May of 2011, and employed about 75 people.

The company manufactured novelty wood items such as ice cream sticks and tongue depressors. It received $7 million in funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Corporation.

Company had problems within months

Within months, it ran into difficulty. Company president Reggie Nukovic said it was restructuring.

This spring, it resumed at least partial production while still working on refinancing.

Gravelle said his ministry worked hard to try to help the company get back on its feet.   "We had also been working with them to resolve their wood supply challenges, and they have been resolved. The wood supply issues would not be the reason the company has had to take this move," he said.

Gravelle said there is a strong demand for the products the company makes, but said it seems likely the inability to get more private sector investment is behind the shutdown.  

Some discarded piles of popsicle sticks were strewn about the parking lot Friday.  

Global Sticks president Reggie Nukovic could not be reached for comment, and representatives of Grant Thornton in Thunder Bay did not immediately return calls from CBC News.