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Truss manufacturing plant to reopen in Sundridge

Kent Trusses shut down in August after owners could not turn a profit
Kent Trusses in Sundridge is reopening after the business was purchased by a Barrie company. Jeff Turl photo

The Town of Sundridge is breathing a big sigh of relief with the news that its biggest employer, Kent Trusses, is going to reopen under new ownership.

Sundridge Mayor Lyle Hall told BayToday that the plant has been sold to Phoenix Building Components in Barrie.

Kent Trusses, located a 40-minute drive south of North Bay, closed in August after struggling for some time to turn a profit.

In a last-ditch effort to prevent permanent closure, the company had approached the town to purchase the land and its holdings for $3.2 million, but the town turned down the offer.

The facility shut its doors on Aug. 18. The plant employed 80 people.

"It's been a relief because it's been a stressful time when you lose an employer that is so long-term and so large in one fell swoop like that,” Hall said.

“You worry about the people in the town and you worry about the future. It's just been a huge relief."

Ironically, quite a few of the past employees from Kent Trusses had started Phoenix in competition a number of years ago.

"So they are very familiar with Kent's business," said Hall. "It looks good."

The business is expected to start up by month's end, but will employ fewer workers than previously.

"It will be a smaller workforce at this point anyway — more like a branch plant — because Phoenix is based out of Barrie,” Hall said.

“Mind you, with the type of equipment they have, they could easily become a major manufacturer again. For sure they are going to start with fewer employees than they had before."

Hall estimates the facility will need between 50 and 60 people, and Phoenix has already started advertising job openings.

The company is seeking a technical sales representative, designers, sawyers, truss fabricators, forklift operators, and AZ drivers.

Hall gives credit to the town's staff.

"We had worked hard,” he said. “You always try and keep a smiling face on these things but you worry about what's going to happen next. But it's all worked out well in the end. We're happy."