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Nick Spina, President and CEO of LiveFit Foods, has announced that his company will expand to Western Fair in London, Ontario. Derek Ruttan / London Free Press / Postmedia Network
A London agribusiness company will have 200 more workers when it opens a new agribusiness platform at the Western Fair District, as giant casino Gateway prepares to bail out.
LiveFit Foods, which employs 120 people at its Newbold Street facility, announced an aggressive growth strategy at the launch of The Grove, a foodservice created at the Western Fair District.
LiveFit will hire workers over a seven-month period and hope to reach about 450 people over the next two years, said Nick Spina, its managing director.
"We have to do what we have to do to keep up with demand," he said. "Our vision and our goals align perfectly with those of (Western Fair's): connecting people and providing the consumer. It's fantastic. It's a dream come true for us. "
LiveFit currently prepares and ships about 80,000 meals a month, or close to one million a year, mainly in the Greater Toronto Area, Spina said. His new home at The Grove will allow him to prepare about 11 million meals a year. She plans to expand home delivery further into Canada and the United States and is in talks with grocery chains.
Several Western Fair buildings will be renovated to become the center where food and agriculture businesses will be offered space, strengthening the food sector in London and the region.
"We want to bring businesses together to help those who are starting to grow and those already established to grow further," said Reg Ash, General Manager of Western Fair. "We can move them from startup to something bigger."
He plans to create and sell food locally and perhaps even grow food inside, he said.
"This stems from our roots in agriculture and our desire to bring together people in rural and urban areas. We want to celebrate food and be a key player in the agro-industries that surround us, "said Ash.
"It's a huge area in the city and the region."
The fair is working with "several other tenants" on implementation projects in The Grove over the next few months, he added.
The Grove will have an area of approximately 150,000 square feet and will provide businesses with space ranging from 900 to several thousand square feet. Several buildings will be renovated, including the Canada Building, where LiveFit will move in three months, the West Annex and the Progress Building.
"I'd like to see several new companies out there in the first year," Ash said. "We are reallocating buildings to fill the gaps. We are very excited. "
This gap is in the casinos and slot machines that will be leaving Western Fair – although this is probably not the case in a few years – when Gateway Casinos will open its new entertainment center in southwestern London. Western Fair is losing its gaming business and the $ 6 million annual revenue that goes with it.
"It is very exciting to see a company launch immediately here, hundreds of jobs created in the area," said Coun. Jesse Helmer, who represents the region. "It's great. This bodes well for the future success of The Grove and this region as a food district. "
The Grove is the latest in important announcements in the agri-food sector in London, highlighting the Maple Leaf Foods project to open a $ 660 million chicken processing plant employing 1,450 people in Canada. 2022.
"We have a strong track record of attracting new food and beverage companies, but this announcement today (from The Grove) offers us another unique asset. It's a resource for developing agri-food companies in London, "said Kapil Lakhotia, managing director of London Economic Development Corp.
LiveFit installs in a 30,000 square foot space at The Grove.
He prepares dishes cooked by the chef and sells them for home delivery. It offers packages worth about a week, some of which are based on certain dietary trends such as weight loss, muscle gain, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and keto.
Prices vary, but the keto plan offers 12 meals for $ 159.
LiveFit has been in business for about four years in London and now sells in Ontario.
"It's like having one's own personal chef. We deliver directly to your door, "said Spina. "Our meals are all natural. They can make you healthier. "
LiveFit will add a production refrigerator of over 2,000 square feet and several ovens. "It will be one of the biggest kitchens you will ever see," Spina said.