Chapman's Ice Cream eyes expansion in 2022

·2 min read

Chapman’s Ice Cream is looking to expand its operations beyond Grey Highlands borders, into West Grey.

“It is not a sure thing yet. It feels like we are all living week-to-week, but we want to think about the future post-COVID-19,” said Ashley Chapman, vice president of the ice cream brand.

Chapman’s Ice Cream was founded in Markdale in 1973 and today is the largest independent ice cream manufacturer in Canada.

“Ice cream consumption has gone up due to the pandemic, after years of stagnation in the category,” Chapman said. “There is such value in our ice cream for families, people are starting to migrate toward us more. There really is nothing in the dessert category that has the value of ice cream, and it supports Canadian dairy farmers.”

The ice cream manufacturer has now set its sights on a 90,000-square-foot addition to its existing ice cream production facility.

As an initial step in the project, Joe Jacobs, vice president of operations for Chapman’s, penned a letter to Grey County, West Grey and Grey Highlands councils making note of the ice cream manufacturer’s intent to initiate a development proposal.

“Chapman's lce Cream is currently exploring an opportunity to continue to build on previous successes and cooperative arrangements with both municipalities through a current development proposal,” stated Jacobs.

Chapman’s recently completed an addition, of similar scale, which extended the production facility north to the common municipal boundary between Grey Highlands and West Grey. The current facility is 265,000-square-feet.

Although in the initial stages, plans for the company’s next expansion includes a 90,000-square-foot addition that would sit fully within West Grey jurisdiction, with servicing provided from Grey Highlands.

According to Jacobs, Grey County recently facilitated an initial meeting between all parties to establish the appropriate next steps.

“As always, Grey County is very supportive. West Grey has also been very easy to deal with in the past,” Chapman said. “It isn’t easy to build an addition the size we are thinking of, so we just want to make sure we are prepared.”

At present, Chapman’s Ice Cream employs 850 people. Once the expansion is completed Chapman estimates the company will be able to employ an additional 100 people in full-time positions.

“At this point, we are unsure as to what machines may go into the new expansion, but it will be designed to hold four enterprise (very large) machines,” he explained.

The company anticipates construction for the addition will begin in 2022.

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca