OLDS — SNDL Inc., formerly known as Sundial Growers Inc., is closing its Olds cannabis growing/processing plant after five years in operation.
The decision was announced in a news release issued Oct. 19. The release did not say when exactly the closure will occur or how many employees currently work at the plant and will thus be affected by the shutdown.
The company announced it will be consolidating its cultivation, research and development, and “supply chain efficiencies” at its plant in Atholville, N.B.
In fact, the news release said SNDL plans to expand its operations there, “creating potential employment opportunities in the area.”
"In the past year, we've transformed our facility footprint with a clear goal of achieving profitability in our cannabis operations by 2024.
"As a result, we have taken the difficult but necessary steps to simplify operations throughout our business, which includes the closure of our Olds, Alberta facility," Tyler Robson, SNDL's president, cannabis, was quoted as saying in the news release.
The release said by “optimizing its facility footprint” the company expects to save more than $10 million a year through a reduction in fixed overhead, power costs, and “labour efficiencies.”
Only five short years ago, Sundial Growers held an exuberant official ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of what analysts described as the company's “state-of-the-art flagship facility” in Olds, estimated at the time to cost $110 million.
Included in the celebration were company officials and members of its board of directors as well as representatives of the Alberta government, the Town of Olds and others.
"Sundial is expecting to employ 500 people in Olds once their facility is completed, making them the largest employer in town," Michael Muzychka, the mayor of Olds at the time said.
Over the years, there has been a number of rounds of layoffs at the facility as it responded to the evolving cannabis market conditions by controlling costs to balance supply and demand.