Old feed mill in Tignish to become new flour mill
Tignish Co-op is welcoming a new entrepreneur to the area by leasing the old feed mill facility to Sean McGivern, who plans to open High Tide Milling Company.
When the old feed mill closed, Sean quickly responded with a plan to lease the facility and open PEI’s first flour mill in almost a century.
Until April 2018, Sean lived in Ontario, where he had been farming 2,000 acres and helping operate a family grain milling business. When Sean’s parents retired, he began to consider a new option.
In 2015, a local entrepreneur from Tignish asked him to help market kelp. That year, Sean visited PEI for the first time and fell in love with the area. “I very much liked the slower pace of life here and I wanted to make Tignish my home,” says Sean. “PEI provides me with so many excellent options.”
In 2017, after selling the farms in Ontario, he purchased two properties in Tignish, becoming a permanent resident of the Island. Sean, who still works on other projects in Ontario, came here with the goal of opening a business in the West Prince area and providing economic growth and development, and employment as well.
“I have been very busy contacting local Island farmers to tell them about my business plans,” says Sean. “This new mill will grind local and specialty grains on location. I also plan to market it and hope to have it on shelves in Island stores.”
The product will be ground, sifted and packaged for retail. Sean plans to start with offering 50-pound and 25-pound bags of flour to customers and retailers. He will also sell directly from the mill one day a week, and plans to hire a sales staff member if there is a demand for more hours of operation.
“There are plenty of local PEI beans, peas, wheat, and rye for me to purchase for the mill operations, which will support our local farmers and keep the processing local as well,” says Sean.
Sean’s next endeavor will be to open a pasta making facility here on PEI using his own flour as a main ingredient. “I plan to produce a variety of pastas and speciality products such as gluten-free items made from Island grown products.”
He also hopes to offer items made from spelt flour, which requires fewer chemical inputs and produces a more easily digestible product. The pasta facility will require staff, and Sean hopes to someday include a retail store to sell the products locally. “The sky is the limit,” says Sean.
Sean has contacted Innovation PEI and SkillsPEI to move his business plan ahead and learn about what programs he can access as a PEI entrepreneur.
For more information, contact Sean McGivern at 902-393-9097, or [email protected].
Tignish Co-op reorganization results in need for more staff
Darren MacKinnon, new Manager of the Tignish Co-op, is overseeing changes and growth in all departments.
“We have improved customer access to feed mill products by moving the products to the Tignish Home Hardware store,” says Darren. “It has only been a few short weeks since the move, and customers are pleased to be able to purchase product six days a week. We have already seen an increase in sales.”
The hardware store was recently renovated, and stock has been increased. Presently, the hardware store has 17 staff members, including students.
“We recently hired another truck driver to accommodate more deliveries, and now we are seeking to hire an outside sales staff member for building supplies.”
Darren says other changes include expansion of the existing bakery at the Tignish Co-op grocery store, which now offers a wider variety of fresh products. “We are currently seeking to hire a bakery clerk to meet the demand.”
Essential skills sought after when hiring
Darren looks for applicants with the following essential skills sets:
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Strong organizational skills
- Ability to work as part of a team
“I certainly see potential for further growth in sales and services to be offered throughout the association.”
He welcomes interested job seekers to email resumés directly to him at [email protected].
For more information about Tignish Co-op, call 902-882-2020 or visit www.facebook.com/pg/tignish.coop.