The historic Arva Flour Mill has been purchased with the intent to keep it operational and add next-generation production and products
THE 202-YEAR-OLD ARVA Flour Mill has staved off its demise, with a new local owner stepping in to keep the historic business alive, vowing to upgrade and modernize the facility.
Local entrepreneur Mark Rinker announced on Wednesday that he’d purchased the mill, and is vowing to keep it in operation.
“It’s simple really, being at the mill gives me joy,” Rinker said in a release. “From a very young age I formed a bond with the property, the people and processes that make the mill special.”
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Rinker recently retired as the VP of sales of Synergy Medical, a pharmacy automation firm, and along with his father used to co-own Magna-Pak, a business located just across the street from the mill. Rinker also highlights his roots in the region “that extend back 150 years,” according to his LinkedIn profile.
The two properties on the six-acre site include the mill, two houses, a barn and other buildings, were listed for sale at $4,490,000 earlier this summer. Details of the finalized sale transaction were not disclosed.
So, what’s the plan for the mill? For now, Rinker has indicated that he wants to work alongside the current owners — the Matthews family, who have owned the Mill for the last century — to keep it operational.
“We had a lot of interest from multiple parties all over the world who wanted to re-develop the land, but ultimately, Mark’s vision to respect and continue the legacy of what our family has built over the last 100 years was most important to us,” says Mike Matthews. “We’re thrilled that the mill will continue to operate and is in local hands. We couldn’t be happier with how things worked out.”
On top of keeping the current mill customers happy and on board, Rinker has given some indication of what the future holds for the Mill. In the announcement, the company says Rinker plans to modernize the mill’s equipment with an eye toward next-generation products.
“We want to continue to honour and serve the existing customers that have kept this mill going for many generations while looking into buildings and equipment to serve new markets,” Rinker says. “We’ll invest immediately in some automation to begin to mill gluten-free flours. This will be done in a separate building with new and dedicated equipment to prevent cross-contamination. Expansion will allow for more people to be able to come onsite and experience the magic of this place.”
Rinker also says he would like to bring a winery or distillery type business to the property, as well as to produce finished products within the “artisan and craft-food movement.”
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And, to add to the list of potential transformations, Rinker says they are looking at ways to use the dam on-site to generate enough power to make the whole operation carbon neutral.
If that project does get off the ground, “the water mill turbine will be repurposed to pair with a generator to make our own electricity,” Rinker says. “This property is part of a very special ecosystem and we are taking our responsibility to steward the land very seriously.” Kieran Delamont