© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee, left, and Greg Rivard, chair of the city's planning and heritage committee, discuss issues brought up during the public meeting Tuesday night.
HJV Equipment setting up shop in Charlottetown
HJV Equipment has outgrown its Stratford location.
After 10 years of operation in the town, the specialized agriculture equipment company that has a particular focus on potato equipment plans to move across the Hillsborough Bridge to Charlottetown.
Charlottetown council held a public meeting Tuesday night to discuss an amendment that will allow HJV Equipment to set up shop at the corner of Sherwood Road and Malpeque Road.
HJV president David Vander Zaag hopes to be operating his growing business in that location starting in the fall of 2016.
Construction, he adds, will begin as "soon as we get permitting done.''
Vander Zaag says Prince Edward Island has been a strong market for his company.
"We're going to invest a fair bit of money (in P.E.I.) because we see a great future there,'' he says in a telephone interview from his home in Ontario.
Vander Zaag first opened HJV Equipment in 1991 in Alliston, Ont. before adding locations in Hensall, Ont., Stratford, P.E.I., and New Brunswick.
"We're going to invest a fair bit of money (in P.E.I.) because we see a great future there'' HJV president, David Vander Zaag
The successful businessman has a pedigree strongly rooted in potato farming.
In 1949, Harry Jacob Vander Zaag, the namesake of HJV, left his father's potato farm in Holland to seek farming opportunity in Canada.
After three years of working on farms in Canada, Harry and his brother began farming in the Alliston area, planting their first seven acres of potatoes by hand.
After many years of successful potato farming as HJ Vander Zaag Farms Ltd., Harry sold the business to two of his sons, Homer and David, in 1990.
In 2007, the brothers went their separate ways: Homer taking over ownership of HJ Vander Zaag Farms and David becoming sole owner of HJV Equipment.
HJV has grown to 70 full time employees, including a dozen on P.E.I., throughout the five HJV equipment locations.
David lives in Alliston, where he continues to grow potatoes for potato chip manufacturer Frito-Lay.