The blueberry processor expects to add 25 full-time and 75 seasonal employees
© Guardian photo
Wyman's president Ed Flanagan says the new factory being built in P.E.I. is the largest capital project in the company’s history. Here he speaks at a news conference this week in West St. Peters.
It might have taken a while to get going, but after 15 years in Prince Edward Island Wyman’s of P.E.I. is getting ready for a major expansion.
Ed Flanagan, the company’s president, said Jasper Wyman & Son had to absorb the growing pains of its Island operation for many years.
“But it stands here now as an integral contributor to Wyman’s’ current and especially future berry business,” he said.
Wyman's and the provincial government held a joint news conference outside the company's processing plant Tuesday to announce a new funding agreement. The provincial government is providing Wyman's with a $16-million term loan and $1.5 million in tax credits to help pay the taxes on assets the company buys for an expansion. Wyman's is also receiving a $500,000 grant.
What it means in terms of the business is the addition of about 10 million pounds of blueberry processing capacity each year thanks to a new cold-storage unit. Wyman's expects to double its workforce by adding 25 full-time and 75 seasonal employees.
Jasper Wyman & Son started as a seafood canning company in Milbridge, Maine in 1874, but by 1900 had made the move to blueberries and continued to grow, including the purchase of its plant in West St. Peters in 1998.
Between all of its operations, Jasper Wyman & Son employs about 180 people, including 25 full-time employees at its plant in P.E.I.
Although the company is in the processing business, Jasper Wyman & Son also owns more than 10,000 acres of wild blueberry fields in New Brunswick, Maine, Nova Scotia and P.E.I.
Its P.E.I. holdings also include a farming division and a beekeeping operation.
As for blueberries Wyman’s sells, they don’t end up in Island stores, although it’s a familiar product for many Americans since it’s the number one frozen blueberry brand in the U.S. Most of the Island berries end up getting shipped to the U.S. or Asia, with smaller amounts going to other parts of Canada.
Flanagan gave a lot of credit for the company’s success on the Island to its employees, many of whom have been with Wyman’s P.E.I. for more than 10 years.
“Every business has its secret sauce. That’s ours,” he said.