TRURO - Scotsburn's plant in the Truro Industrial Park will be hiring when it becomes the exclusive supplier of Baskin-Robbins ice cream in Canada in October.
Baskin-Robbins, which is the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, announced on Wednesday that its Peterborough, Ont., plant would close this fall. That means Scotsburn will be producing ice cream for the chain's 113 franchises across the country.
"This will increase the production, which will lead to an increase in shifts and employment opportunities," said Gerry Smith, senior vice-president for Scotsburn Dairy Group, adding the Truro plant has manufactured some of Baskin-Robbins' products for the past seven or eight years.
Smith, however, wouldn't say exactly how many jobs the move would create.
"It will have a definite impact. It will be increasing the leaders in the plant and that (the production) line has the capability to increase," he said.
"Our objective is once that plant closes, we will transition with them so we will be ready to start production in the fall."
According to the figures released two years ago, Scotsburn in Truro employed 180 people at its peak, with an annual payroll of $8 million.
Scotsburn opened a 30,000 square foot centre in Truro in 1992 and has expanded over the years to 152,000 square feet.
Baskin-Robbins, whose headquarters is in Canton, Mass., said that despite working around the clock the facility in Peterborough is not able to keep up with demand. Its 80 plant employees will be offered severance compensation and benefits such as counselling and career planning help.
Peterborough is the only remaining manufacturing facility Baskin-Robbins operates in North America and the company says the closure is in line with its strategy to move completely to third-party companies to manufacture its ice cream.
Baskin-Robbins expects to incur one-time charges of about US$16 million to $18 million to close the plant. Beginning next year, it expects annual savings of $4 million to $5 million.
Percy Paris, economic and rural development minister for Nova Scotia, is excited about the local development.
"Nova Scotia is very pleased that Baskin-Robbins is expanding its relationship with Scotsburn, which is a tremendous endorsement of the high-quality products produced by the company," he said in a news release.