PROVIDENCE BAY – The Manitoulin Island Community Abattoir (MICA) has been sold, with the closing date for the sale to take place in November.
“Yes, we have a purchaser for the abattoir—this is good news,” stated Birgit Martin, chair of MICA late last week. “We received and accepted an offer on the abattoir. The change of ownership will take place November 15.” She pointed out the name of the purchaser will remain confidential until the deal has been finalized.
“We have an offer and the conditions of the sale have been waived,” confirmed Jeff Hietkamp, MICA treasurer. “This is fantastic news. The sale is to close on November 15 and the new owners have indicated they are going to continue to run it as an abattoir, so service to customers will not be interrupted.”
“The buyer plans to carry on the business with the continued services for customers,” confirmed Ms. Martin. “They will be adding processing cutting and wrapping of products (to the services provided).”
As was reported earlier this year, the abattoir has been operated by the board while a new buyer was being sought. The 4,200 square foot abattoir opened for business in early 2013 with the goal of saving shipping costs to approved kill facilities and reducing the environmental impact of transporting products great distances. The facility is provincially inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
MICA secured over $1.3 million in funding in 2012 from a variety of sources. This enabled them to hire staff for the storefront and abattoir operation as well as fund the construction of the plant.
Ms. Martin reported earlier this year the abattoir has been run by a volunteer board of directors and the board can’t do any more to run the business effectively. She explained at the time that there needed to be a marketing effort and there needs to be day-to-day management. “The board can’t do that,” she said, noting there are six members on the board who are all farmers that run their own personal operations and work for MICA in a volunteer capacity. The board decided to sell the facility to enable it to grow beyond the means of its current members.
Mr. Hietkamp was quoted in January as saying that despite the financial situation improving through the years as the number of processed animals increased, the abattoir has yet to post a profit. In December of 2016, according to MICA board members, the facility could easily handle a measured increase in production as-is, or large growth with the addition of a processing facility.