From left, Mitch Thompson, Taylor Earle and Tracy and Jamie Grier stand before the new structures at their Landsdowne location. Van Dusen photo
LANSDOWNE – It may not mean that much economically in some municipalities but in the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, construction of a shiny new grain elevator and storage bins is a big event.
In fact, coming through the Village of Lansdowne, the complex owned by Jamie and Tracy Grier featuring 15,000 tons of dry storage and 1,800 tons of wet storage, acts like a beacon drawing drivers for a closer look.
Although not quite ready to receive, the Grier elevator was officially opened Sept. 19 with dignitaries, suppliers and customers in attendance. Among them were township Councillors Terry Fodey and Gordon Ohlke who were delighted by the new business.
Not only does the Grier project add another five-figure amount to municipal tax revenues – zoning was changed on 10 acres from agricultural to commercial – but it will create some much needed jobs and could lead to spinoff investments, the councillors explained.
They pointed out that with frontage along the St. Lawrence River and several interior lakes, the township’s main industry is tourism. Second and growing steadily is agriculture, with both men making it clear they see further potential.
Pointing out there are few elevators close by other than Willows AgriServices at Addison near Brockville, Fodey and Ohlke suggested the Griers won’t have much trouble reaching capacity, pulling back township producers who’ve been heading west and mainly east as far as Johnstown to find grain storage. They felt the couple might soon be expanding to accommodate demand, something Jamie Grier said he was prepared to do if required.
With no one prepared to take over, the Griers sold off their 35-head Holstein herd and quota last year, sticking to cash cropping 1,000 owned acres. In addition, they run on-farm Seed Solutions which opened about 20 years ago. Used to overseeing a much smaller private elevator on the home farm, Jamie felt a commercial venture could work in the area and hired GSI to pull it all together.
While several important looking parts were still sitting on the ground at the reception, Jamie told guests he expected to be open for business Oct. 1, including the weigh station which still needed exterior cladding and some other final touches.
To be assisted at the elevator by employees Taylor Earle and Mitch Thompson, Jamie expects to hire two more workers in short order. Meanwhile, Tracy is off to pursue her passion of operating a bridal boutique in Kingston known as Limestone & Lace.
When Jamie suggested she’ll still take care of the farm and elevator books, he got a look best described as dubious.