by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent
During a report to Town Council at their Committee of the Whole meeting May 17, Champion Petfood’s President and CEO Frank Burdzy hinted at the possibility of a new replacement facility for the Morinville facility being built outside of the community.
The presentation went over the last year in operations for the international corporation, explaining how the company has expanded operations to sell their product in more than 80 countries, with more than 400 employees, and the 150 now hired for their DogStar Kitchen in Kentucky, which opened May 12.
Burdzy noted that this year, the company is focused on further odour mitigation and investing in the community while maintaining their rapid growth. This discussion was overshadowed, however, when Burdzy reported that it was possible that the company’s NorthStar kitchen facility in Morinville may be eventually replaced by a new facility that could be built out of Town.
The discussion came up when Burdzy mentioned that the company’s rapid expansion may require more room than they currently have on their lot, with their current facility often running at 96 per cent capacity., significantly higher than the optimum 80 per cent in the industry. The kitchen’s lot would not allow for greater expansion, so everything, up to and including building a brand new facility on a new lot, “is on the table.”
When asked by Councillor Nicole Boutestein if this meant the facility would be built in Morinville, or nearby in Sturgeon County, Burdzy said that the company was not ruling anything out at this point, but Champion would prefer to keep their relationship with local suppliers by staying near.
Burdzy did point out that the Morinville operation might be used to expand the line of products the company offers its customers around the world that they do not presently manufacture.
Champion employs approximately 200 people in Morinville and, according to their own statistics, financially contributes through employment to one in six families in Morinville.