Taxpayers will help potato packer become more innovative

Eric McCarthy
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ELMSDALE -- Change has become the new normal at W.P. Griffin Inc. over the past decade.

“Change is constant,” Peter Griffin, company vice-president, reflected Friday, as he spoke to employees and invited guests on the plant’s packing floor. He acknowledged the company’s 40 employees for their acceptance of change. That change, he added will continue to occur as the company responds to consumer demands.

It was those changing consumer demands that prompted the company’s recent purchase of state-of-the art weighing and packing equipment.

The special gathering on Friday was called to announce that the federal and provincial governments were providing the company with $372,490 in funding, mostly to assist with the purchase of the equipment, but also to assist the company in marketing their newly developed specialty potato products.

The changes are all market-driven, said the vice-president. “The consumer demands a better product. They want more products ready to eat and less work for them, and they want products that enable them to do what they want to do.”

The company has agreements with Walmart Canada and Sobeys Inc. to market their specialty products and they recently became the first Canadian supplier of the Albert Bartlett brand of potatoes. The new Matrix vertical fill, form and seal bagger will be used mainly to fill packs with Albert Bartlett varieties for Walmart starting in the fall. The company has been putting it through some test runs in preparation.

Company president, John Griffin, said he’s not sure what his late father, Wilfred, who started the company, would think of all the computerized equipment, but he knows he’d be proud of the accomplishments.

The potato growing, packing and shipping company has been in business since 1947.

It’s the specialty products, John Griffin said, that has helped the company evolve.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, in announcing $323.490 in funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, commended the company “for continuing to innovate, to expand your business, to diversify your markets and diversify your product, and for all the employment you provide in this area.”

She noted the government investments will help WP Griffin market their product, both in Canada and throughout the world.

Provincial Tourism Minister Robert Henderson, added his praise. “You really did a really good job of combining innovation and work ethic and marketing to really make a company grow,” he said.

“We all seem to be living busier lives today,” Henderson added, “and I think this company is on a good idea by making it easier for consumers to buy and use top-quality Island-grown potatoes.”

John Griffin said the expanded product lines and growth potential will benefit the company’s workforce.

“It’s going to increase our employment some, but also give us steadier business year-round,” he said.

Organizations: Walmart, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Geographic location: Canada, Iceland

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Recent comments

  • don
    January 19, 2014 - 20:28

    you would think after 67 years they could get the money from a real bank. but i guess getting the money free is better for profits. sick i'll NOT be buying anything that has the name griffen name on it.

  • don
    January 19, 2014 - 20:24

    does this mean we get cheaper price on there taters? it is called profit and screwing the tax payers of canada. how was it he was able to do the bags up long before he was donated the money?

  • george
    January 19, 2014 - 19:08

    do wee have any say you crooks

  • WRONG WORDING
    January 17, 2014 - 21:15

    I do not think that growing your company on the backs of the taxpayers is an accomplishment. I would call in an embarrassment that you will not fund your own business yet have not problems taking you profits to the banks. Join the ranks of the other PEI companies that feel it is their right to be funded by the taxpayers.