CEO and General Manager of Kawartha Dairy, Brian Kerr, says rumours that one of this area’s most iconic brands is set to go national is premature.
“We have growth plans, but not a national expansion in the near term.”
Instead, says Kerr, there is “lots of room to grow right here in Ontario.”
A source told The Lindsay Advocate that a national expansion was in the cards this fall, but Kerr shot down this rumour.
Kerr also wanted to emphasize that “‘whether there are national expansion plans or not” there are “no plans to leave Bobcaygeon” where the company was “born and bred,” he says.
Right now Kawartha Dairy remains a central Ontario company, although its well-known ice cream brand can be found in many grocery stores, like Food Basics, Metro, Costco, and others across the province. As well, Kawartha Dairy operates 10 of its own retail stores, most of them in cottage country.
When asked if their expansion – at any level – would lead to more local jobs, Kerr replied “very much so.”
“We’re always looking for great employees and we’re recruiting for quite a few positions right now,” he says, estimating there are 10-plus positions now available in middle management, warehousing, plant operations, and more. He adds local people will always be given preference when possible.
Kerr just took on the role of general manager and CEO last September. His is a ‘full circle’ business story in that he worked at Kawartha Dairy for about 10 years when he was young, loading trucks and at the plant. Now, he is moving back to the area in his new senior leadership role to help guide the company in the years to come.
The business leader says any expansion plans by the dairy company are a “great thing for local economic development, great for the City (of Kawartha Lakes).”
Jack and Ila Crowe created Kawartha Dairy back in 1937, starting out with a small dairy in Bobcaygeon. The 82-year-old company is 100 per cent Canadian and family owned.
According to their website, in the old days when the company first started out, “local farms provided the milk which was picked up in 80 lb galvanized steel cans by wagons in the summer and sleigh in the winter.”
“In those days, all of the milk was delivered to homes by horse or to cottages by boat.”
It was in the mid 1950s when Jack Crowe began learning the craft of ice cream making. Now the company produces ice cream, milk, butter, cream, egg nog, and other dairy products.
Kawartha Dairy receives deliveries of fresh milk daily to run its business and most of that is sourced from nearby local farms, as part of Canada’s milk cooperative known as supply management.
The company is heavily involved in the Kawartha Lakes community, supporting local non-profits and initiatives.