A Norwich company is receiving more than $2 million in funding from the provincial government for an expansion expected to more than double its production capacity.
Oxford Pallet, a pallet production and recycling company based in Norwich, is receiving the funding from the government’s Forest Sector Investment and Innovation program. Politicians announced the funding with an event at the company on Thursday.
“Since being established, this budding enterprise has enjoyed impressive growth producing made-in-Ontario manufactured products with the help of this dedicated workforce hired from the Oxford community,” said Ernie Hardeman, Oxford County MPP at the Sept. 24 announcement. “Businesses like this one will help play an important role in recovery and Ontario’s future success.”
Hardeman was joined by ministers John Yakabuski, minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Vic Fedeli, minister of Economic Development, as well as Mike Harris, parliamentary assistant to the minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Oxford Pallet expects the funding will allow it to double capacity and create up to 20 jobs by expanding both the machines used and products made by the company.
“With these cutting edge improvements the company will be better able to meet the growing demand for products like crates, mulch and material handling,” Yakabuski said.
It is also expected to improve the company’s purchasing at Ontario sawmills and lumber wholesalers by 30 per cent.
Henk Vrugteveen, owner of Oxford Pallet, said he applied for the funding that will allow his company to improve machines and technology for repair and repurposing.
“In November I read an article about $100 million into manufacturing in Southwestern Ontario,” Vrugteveen said. “We started applying and it was a lot of work, applications, site visits, meetings, and we were awarded over two million.”
Vrugteveen said the money will go into the company’s pallet repair and sorting line, where they repair damaged pallets, saving them from the landfill and sending them back out for use; and to a hammer mill, which takes wood waste and repurposes it into animal bedding for chickens and cows – markets where he soon hopes to compete for local business in Oxford County.
He hopes the expansion will create five to 10 jobs a year over the next three to five years.
Yakabuski said the company is the first to receive funding under the redesigned forest sector investment and innovation program unveiled last December
“What we accomplish will make a difference in our community, rural surroundings and environment. We have been so blessed to grow this company and put up this new building and are excited to expand into areas of new job creation and find more ways to be environmentally efficient and purchase new machines and technology,” Vrugteveen said. “This will be an adventure and we are here for it.”