SUSSEX, N.B. – It may be the middle of a pandemic, but growth has not stopped for Mrs. Dunster’s.
The company is expanding in a big way in Moncton, with a new bakery worth more than $4.5-million set to open in the Hub City later this year.
The new 37,000 square-foot bakery will open on St. George Boulevard, and will be the first bakery of its size built in Atlantic Canada since the company’s own 30,000-square-foot bakery was built in Sussex over two decades ago.
“It’ll be a very modern facility. It’ll compliment the existing bakery that we have in Sussex, and Sussex will still always be a core part of our existence for sure. This will be our second bakery in New Brunswick of that size,” co-owner and co-CEO Blair Hyslop told Huddle in a “Home Office” podcast interview in October.
“The good news is bakery equipment lasts for 50 years, and the bad news is all of the equipment that we have was 50 years old, so this is going to give us an opportunity to modernize and get some new equipment,” he added.
The new bakery will focus on fresh-baked breads, rolls, pastries and pizza shells for grocery stores and restaurants across the Maritimes and Maine, as well as frozen baked goods for shops nation-wide. Mrs. Dunster’s also plans to open a retail store from the Moncton bakery.
Currently, Blair says the company is moving some people from other parts of the business to start off the facility. But once the retail store is launched, the expansion would eventually add 50-to-60 people to the company’s 200 staff members currently.
The project is being funded through financing support from the Bank of Montreal, as well as Opportunities New Brunswick. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency also provided a repayable contribution of $750,000 via the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program, which is aimed at helping businesses adopt new technologies to scale up and boost productivity and competitiveness.
The construction work on the facility will be done by Sussex-based Iron Maple and Saint John-based Fundy Engineering.
Blair owns and leads the company with co-CEO Rosalyn Hyslop, who said in a release that the company’s investment in a new bakery is a direct consequence of more people in Atlantic Canada choosing to buy local food.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in the number of customers choosing to buy food made by local companies. These trends, combined with the commitment and dedication of our team of awesome employees who work hard to bake yummy food every day, have made this exciting project possible,” she said.
Mrs. Dunster’s has been growing at a rate of 30-to-40 percent annually in the last five years, said Blair.
“The last year before Covid, we grew at 50 percent, that one year, so it’s been a remarkable, remarkable ride,” he said. “At one point, in sixty days, we added 100 employees.”
Half of that growth came from its core business, and the other half came from the multiple acquisitions the company has been making since 2015 around the Maritimes.
The Hyslops bought Mrs. Dunster’s, a business that has existed for decades in New Brunswick, in 2014. With the follow-up acquisitions, the Hyslops also own McBuns retail stores in Moncton, Kredl’s Corner Market in Hampton, and Snairs Bakery on P.E.I and in Nova Scotia.