The historic Arva Flour Mill north of London has a new owner who is vowing to keep the 202-year-old business going.
It was announced on Wednesday that local entrepreneur Mark Rinker had purchased the site from Mike Matthews, whose family operated the mill for more than 100 years.
“It’s simple really, being at the mill gives me joy. From a very young age I formed a bond with the property, the people, and processes that make the mill special,” said Rinker. “I have recently retired as VP Sales with a pharmacy automation company and the timing was just right. When I approached the Matthews family with our vision for the property and the business we found alignment immediately in preserving the property and legacy for future generations to enjoy.”
Rinker plans to increase retail distribution and build on the existing brand to grow the business.
“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,” said Rinker. “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 without changing the mill or its important natural environment.”
Among the mill’s current retail partners is Remark Fresh Markets in London and Windsor. Additionally, approximately 100 individual customers visit the site each day.
Long-term, Rinker has his sights set on adding an onsite winery or distillery. He is also looking into ways to utilize the hydroelectric power from the mill’s dam to power the entire property. His goal is for the site to have net-zero carbon emissions.
After the mill was put on the market in July, offers poured in from developers from Toronto, Vancouver and, as far away as China.
“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,” said Former owner Mike Matthews. “We’re thrilled that the mill will continue to operate and is in local hands.”
Matthews added that his family intends to work with and support Rinker’s vision for the mill going forward.
Read original story from London Ontario – BlackburnNews.com