After starting out as a family business in 1982, PepsiCo. has announced the Spitz sunflower seed plant in Bow Island will shut down, leading to over 50 people losing their jobs.
In a statement, the company said it made its “difficult decision” on Thursday.
“This facility will close later this year and Spitz production will be moving to an existing contract manufacturer partner in the US.,” the company said in a statement. “This was a business decision based on an extensive evaluation of the long-term viability of this site and its ability to meet our increasing volume requirements for the brand, which will continue to play an important role in our North American portfolio.
“We are committed to assisting our impacted associates with financial support, access to financial counselling and job placement services.”
Spitz International was founded in 1982 by Dutch immigrants Tom and Emmy Droog, eventually becoming a leading sunflower seed producer and was bought by PepsiCo. in 2008.
“We hope you get out there and enjoy all our delicious flavours and taste the Spitz® difference for yourself!” the Spitz website still said on Friday. “And when you do, think of the folks in Bow Island, who couldn’t be prouder.”
While the company’s statement made no mention of politics, the area’s MLA and UCP Finance Critic Drew Barnes blames the NDP.
“Many companies are going to vote with their feet, they’re not going to provide jobs, they’re not going to create wealth here in Alberta, and until a government change or a new direction, we’re going to be feeling the pain for it,” he said. “You look at our ever-increasing electricity rates, you look at our minimum wage changes, you look at our oil and gas people not working in Alberta.
“They didn’t make their decision only in this vacuum, but I’m sure when I’m talking to the people in Bow Island in the coffee shop tomorrow morning, they’ll be feeling the current NDP government’s a big part of their decision.”