The Business Retention and Expansion Program from the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC) is firing on all cylinders. Designed to help area companies grow their operations, and ultimately create and preserve jobs in the community, the initiative has generated some considerable successes as of late.
One example, announced last week, is Guy’s B & R CSN Collision Centre. The company recently moved into a new facility on Great Northern Road, which was part of a $3.4-million expansion to modernize equipment and services to enable repairs of new models of trucks and automobiles that feature composite and aluminum materials. This initiative is expected to create 11 full-time jobs and help retain 15 current positions.
The expansion to Guy’s B & R CSN Collision Centre was made possible with a $900,000 investment – $630,000 repayable loan and $270,000 grant – from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. Established by the Province of Ontario, the agency provides funding to companies and organizations in the region, with the ultimate goal of creating and retaining jobs throughout Northern Ontario. As part of its Business Retention and Expansion Program, the SSMEDC assists its clients in securing funds from this and other sources. Guy’s B & R CSN Collision Centre is a prime example.
“We have expertise in repairing vehicles and running our business, but we don’t necessarily have the know-how required to work our way through the funding application process; that’s why we used the services of the SSMEDC,” said Nello Iannelli, co-owner of the family-operated business, which was established by his father, Gaetano, as Guy’s Auto Body in 1980. “We thank the SSMEDC team for their assistance in helping with our expansion, and we look forward to continuing to serve the Sault area for generations to come.”
From 2010 to 2014, under its Business Retention and Expansion Program, the SSMEDC worked with 58 companies and organizations on successful growth projects, which helped create or retain more than 1,400 jobs in the community. This activity was the result of more than 250 on-site client consultations and well over 1,000 hours of work by SSMEDC staff. A sample of the firms that were assisted by the program in the past five years include: Envirotek Sealing & Fibreglassing, Boniferro Mill Works, Triple M Metal, Soo Foundry & Machine, SK Group, Classic Signs, N-Sci Technologies, JD Aero Technical, Sault Ste. Marie Airport, and SIS Group.
“While we assist clients in accessing funds from various sources, our Business Retention and Expansion Program also helps companies measure, evaluate and develop strategies to address their needs, with the goal of enabling stabilization and new growth,” said John Febbraro, Director of Business Development for the SSMEDC. “With the program, our clients benefit, and the community also benefits with additional employment opportunities and an increase to the Municipal tax base. In delivering the program, we’re proud to work with our partners, including the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, FedNor, Business Development Bank of Canada, and Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie & Area.”