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Norfolk County
Economic Development
185 Robinson St, Ste 200, Simcoe, ON N3Y 5L6 Canada
Phone: 519-426-9497
Toll Free: 1-800-699-9038


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Norfolk Development News – September 2017

The latest edition of Norfolk County Development News email has been published and is on its way to subscribers.

Latest headlines:

  • Home sales improve
  • Ready for Industrial Revolution 4.0?
  • Six-storey apartment approved
  • New radio station for Norfolk County
  • Reducing failure rates of entrepreneurs
  • Procyk Farms employs 500

Subscribe to Norfolk Development News to receive the latest edition, and future editions.

Ready for Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is here and it’s revolutionizing the way manufacturers are doing business, according to the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

Digital technology is dramatically improving productivity, growth and product quality for Canadian manufacturers, and the time to invest is now. 

There’s a wide variety of Industry 4.0 applications that range in costs and complexity. The following are some of the common Industry 4.0 applications you could implement in your business:

  • Go paperless—Digitize your business documents (e.g., work instructions, forms, purchase and shipping orders, product specifications) to save time and money, and to reduce errors due to incorrect and outdated information.
  • Monitor and control machinery and equipment in real time—Install wireless sensors on your machinery and equipment to monitor your production and collect data in real time. This allows you to accurately track production, identify and correct problems, and make more informed strategic decisions. This is known as the Industrial Internet of Things.
  • Introduce smart processes—Introduce machines that can analyze their own data to predict when maintenance is needed and even book an appointment with a technician. Advanced control technologies measure quality in real time during production and take action to correct defects.
  • Optimize processes—Use advanced analytic software to mine data to identify the best production and maintenance scenarios to improve production and optimize asset utilization.
  • Experiment with 3-D printing—Use 3-D printers to make prototypes quickly, fabricate complex forms and make ultra-personalized products tailored to your customers’ specifications.
  • Connect products to the Internet—Equip products with sensors to monitor usage. Use them to alert your customers when maintenance is needed and other issues arise. You can also use smart products to add services based on usage, shift to a product-as-a-service business model or develop new, innovative products.
  • Integrate computer networks—Use the Internet to connect with your customers, suppliers and business partners. You might use an extranet or an electronic data interchange system (EDI) for B2B connections and a transactional website for B2C connections.


Entrepreneurship training offered by GoForth Institute

The GoForth Institute has launched entrepreneurship training to try to reduce the high failure rate of startup businesses.

Currently, 35% of business startups fail within two years and 50% fail within five years, said GoForth founder Leslie McGeough.

The company offers online mobile business skills training, based on interviews with 200 founders of successful companies. Those leaders were asked which skills make the difference between success and failure.

Over 10,000 entrepreneurs have taken the GoForth training. More than 90% said the training was extremely valuable. The same percentage are still operational two years later.

The GoForth Institute offers training at a cost, but its website also contains lots of free, valuable resources. For more information, visit the GoForth Institute website.


New radio station launched

My Broadcasting Corporation has launched a new radio station in Norfolk County. Oldies 99.7 has installed a transmission tower in Simcoe to broadcast the signal. Oldies 99.7 will be based within the current building housing MyFM 98.9. Two new jobs have already been created, and two more workers will be hired in the near future.

Alan Duthie

General Manager Alan Duthie

Developer plans six-storey apartment

A Toronto-area developer has received development approval from Norfolk County Council to construct a six-storey apartment building on Pond Street in Simcoe, reports the Simcoe Reformer. Depending on the mix of units selected, the 54,000-square-foot building could have as many as 45 apartments. Sponsor of the project is Aurelio Baglione of Vaughan. He owns the block of land where The Brick sits. The parcel he plans to build on is located between Regional Auto Glass and World of Plumbing.

Pond St Apartment concept


Home sales improve from July to August, but volumes still down year-over-year

Residential sales activity recorded through the MLS® System of the Simcoe & District Real Estate Board numbered 93 units in August 2017. This was a decrease of 16.2% from August in 2016, and stood roughly in line with the 10-year average for the month. It marked a noticeable improvement from the 35% year-over-year decline recorded in July.

Year-to-date sales numbered 779 units over the first seven months of 2017, down 5.6% from 2016. It was the third best ever level for the period.

“Home sales improved from well below-average levels in July to more normal levels in August, although they remain well down from the highs reached earlier this year,” said Gail Bouw, President of the Simcoe & District Real Estate Board. “While it is only one month’s worth of data, it does suggest some buyers may be starting to venture off the sidelines and back into the market.”

The average price of homes sold in August 2017 was $357,890, up 12.9% from August 2016. The year-to-date average price was $346,607, up 19.7% from the same time last year.

The dollar value of all home sales in August 2017 was $33.3 million, a decline of 5.4% from August 2016.

New residential listings numbered 118 units in August 2017, down 15.1% from August 2016. This was the lowest August level in over a decade.

Overall supply is still running at the lowest levels on record. Active residential listings on the Board’s MLS® System numbered just 209 units at the end of August, down 30.3% from August 2016.

There were just 2.2 months of inventory at the end of August 2017, down from 2.7 months at the end of August 2016 and a record-low for this time of the year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

The Simcoe & District Real Estate Board was established in 1959 and covers a very diverse and extensive region. Simcoe and District Real Estate Board members are highly trained and knowledgeable about our unique area and all there is to offer.

Offshore workers key to agriculture

Representatives of the federal government recently toured Norfolk County to better understand the needs of farmers and offshore workers in the food production sector. The government delegates were hosted by F.A.R.M.S., Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services.

At a dinner meeting in Port Dover, Norfolk County staff highlighted the importance of offshore workers to our agriculture sector, and the care farmers take in ensuring their temporary and seasonal workers are housed properly.

Clark Hoskin, Manager of Tourism & Economic Development for Norfolk County, summarized Statistics Canada data which indicates an increased dependence on seasonal and temporary workers on farms across Canada.

Ontario, the province with the highest number of seasonal and temporary workers (46,139) on farms, dependence on this labour pool has increased by 29% since 2011.

Quebec farms employ 29,967 seasonal and temporary workers, and dependence on them has  increased 17%.

British Columbia farmers are the third largest employer of seasonal and temporary workers, with 29,627. Dependence has increased 66% since 2011.

At the meeting, Public Health Inspector Kelsey Lutzi explained how the health unit ensures that farmers are following the seasonal worker accommodation guidelines.

According to an article in the Norfolk News, farmer Paul Procyk said that without offshore labour programs, the fourth-generation family operation would not have expanded its vegetable production operation.

Agriculture Tour 2017

Norfolk County’s Agriculture Advisory Board held its annual Agriculture Tour on September 6, 2017, showcasing modern farm operations in our communities.

The tour by municipal councillors, staff, farmers, agribusiness people and others took in the following stops:

  • Archie’s Cabbage
  • Procyk Farms
  • Frank E’s Farm Market
  • Komienski Farms
  • Ramblin’ Road Brewery Farm
  • Hanns’ Farms

For photos of the tour and summaries of the stops, visit our Invest in Norfolk facebook page photo album.

Local food recognition to Norfolk County businesses

Businesses and individuals in Norfolk County were recently acknowledged at the Local Food Recognition Day organized by South Central Ontario Economic Development Corporation (SCOR) held at the Fanshawe College Simcoe / Norfolk Regional Campus.

Jenn VanDeVelde of Wholesome Pickins

Jenn VanDeVelde of Wholesome Pickins

Wholesome Pickins, owned by Jenn and Dave VanDeVelde of Delhi, won the Farmers / Producers and Processors Award. Wholesome Pickins is a family owned fruit and vegetable farm market and scratch bakery. They grow June-bearing and ever-bearing strawberries, raspberries, and pumpkins. 

Jennifer von Schleinitz and Ryan Rivard

Jennifer von Schleinitz and Ryan Rivard

Chef Ryan Rivard and partner Jennifer von Schleinitz and their team at The Combine of Simcoe and Lago Trattoria of Port Dover won the Restaurants and Businesses Award. The Combine Restaurant boasts a 2,200-square-foot garden, containing zucchini, pattypan squash, radishes, nine types of lettuce, as well as herbs such as chervil and lavender, and seven types of sweet and spicy peppers, which are harvested to make the restaurant’s sauces. A small corn patch with 21 plants is also an experiment for the future. 

Jason Mayo, a teacher at Simcoe Composite School, won the Food Literacy / Education Award. Jason Mayo has appeared twice on the TV series Masterchef Canada.  

Jason Mayo

Jason Mayo (center) with the Fairly Fat Guys, Norfolk County’s Local Food Ambassadors

Norfolk Fruit Growers Association of Simcoe won the Regional Award. The association presently boasts 10 active member-growers who collectively ship their apples and pears through central facilities. Their entire storage facilities presently exceed 3,500,000 cubic feet (102,000 cubic metres) with a huge capacity for cold, controlled-atmosphere, low-oxygen, common, and dry storage. 

Several other Norfolk County businesses and individuals were nominated:

  • Scott McRae, chef at David’s Restaurant
  • Joy Café
  • Blue Elephant Restaurant
  • Mark Sloot of Austin’s Farm Market
  • The Barrel Restaurant
  • Local Vegetable Co.
  • Hunts Honey
  • Burning Kiln Winery
  • Vanessa’s Bees
  • Marg Land of Annex Publishing
  • EZ Grow Farms
  • Bonnieheath Estate Lavender & Winery
  • Fanshawe College Agri-Business management Program
Norfolk Fruit Growers optical sizing apple pack line

Norfolk Fruit Growers Association pack line


Procyk Farms employs 500 workers

Procyk Farms of Norfolk County relies on about 500 workers, many of them from offshore countries, to grow, harvets, pack and ship tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and other produce vegetables.

The family operation, now moving into its fourth generation, has expanded its export business with a focus on quality and customer service. Procyk Farms ships to New York, New Jersey, Boston, Florida and Chicago.

Procyk Farms recently opened a highly-mechanized 125,000-square-foot building, featuring five computerized lines. The facility has ten multi-temperature zone coolers for a variety of vegetable types.