Two Thunder Bay companies will create jobs and expand their business after receiving federal funding.
The funding was announced Thursday at a media event at Thunder Bay’s Sleeping Giant Brewing Company, which is receiving $100,000 from FedNor, while Countermeasures Security Solutions Inc. will receive about $470,000.
Countermeasures — which manufactures automated gate assemblies and provides perimeter security services — will use the funding to expand its manufacturing capacity.
“FedNor support has been instrumental in our efforts to fast-track our advanced manufacturing expansion project,” Phil Tremblay, the company’s operations manager, said in a statement. “The funding announced [Thursday] will help us modernize and expand our operations, hire 15 new employees and position us to capitalize on domestic and international opportunities.”
Meanwhile, the brewery’s grant of $100,000 allowed the company to purchase a new canning system, which has increased efficiency, Sleeping Giant CEO and co-founder Andrea Mulligan said at the media event.
“Now we’re able to package products not only in the taller 473 [millilitre] cans,” she said. “We can easily and effectively switch over to the 355s.”
That’s allowed Sleeping Giant to expand its operations, Mulligan said, using the example of its new ginger ale, which a large store chain wants to carry.
“Because of our new canner, we’re able to easily say yes, knowing that we can keep up with the demand and the expectations for a project like that,” Mulligan said.
‘Ready to move forward’
More expansion is on the way for Sleeping Giant, as well, which is marking its 10th year in operation next month. Mulligan said work is underway to build an addition to its building to house the canning machine.
Fiffteen jobs will also be added at the brewery, Mulligan said.
“When we first opened, we never said we were afraid of failing, but, boy, we were afraid of success, because with that comes a lot of responsibility, a lot of hard work, but it’s been worth it,” she said. “We just feel like we’re just getting started.”
“We’re excited, our team’s excited,” Mulligan said. “We’re coming out of the pandemic. We’re ready to move forward and just grow the business, support our community.”
Patty Hajdu, minister responsible for FedNor, said the funding will help the two businesses meet growing demand.
“It allows for, obviously, better prosperity for that company, but also the job creation that both of the organizations spoke about,” she said. “Fifteen jobs in each location, and an opportunity to expand their market reach beyond not just northern Ontario, but even beyond the country.”
Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Marcus Powlowski, who was also at Thursday’s event, said both investments were good for northwestern Ontario.
“I think FedNor is doing a really great job in kind of selecting these companies,” he said. “They can, with a little bit of money, leverage these benefits for the community.”