History and Location

Milo-FAIS is located on Lake Erie 45 minutes east of the Detroit-Windsor border at the southern most tip of Canada in Wheatley, Ontario.

Wheatley lies on the 42nd Parallel. This is the same latitude as Chicago, Illinois and Rome, Italy. The flat topography of the land, the exceptionally fertile soil condition, the unparalleled access to fresh water and the proximity to the United States border has made this region an agricultural powerhouse. Milo-FAIS provides warehousing and food processing space to three of the largest food producers operating in this uniquely favorable geo- climatic region of southern Ontario.

The facility is completing 100 years in production. The facility was formerly owned and fully occupied by Omstead Foods. Omstead Foods was founded in 1911 in Wheatley. This is true of many large food manufacturers who came to the region in the early 1900’s. Most notable is H.J. Heinz who operates a major tomato processing facility since 1909 and who actually owned Omstead Foods for awhile. The Omstead company was sold in 1984 to Canadian beer giant, John Labatt, Ltd. Labatt nearly doubled the size of the facility during its ownership, putting in major expansions and facilities. In 1991, Labatt decided to exit the food business and sold its JL Foods subsidiary to H.J. Heinz Company of Canada. In 1992, Heinz significantly expanded and modernized the facility yet again at a cost of over CDN $20 million, including a large waste water treatment facility. In early 2003, TriWest, a Calgary, Alberta based private equity company, acquired Omstead Foods from Heinz. In 2007, TriWest spun off Omstead’s fresh water fish division which occupied a large building directly across the harbor. In 2009, the three other divisions, Coated Appetizers, Frozen Vegetables and Frozen Fruit were sold to separate companies.

Timeline
1911 : Omstead Foods was founded in Wheatley, Ontario
1984 : Canadian beer giant, John Labatt, Ltd buys facility
1984-1991 : Major expansions and upgrades; facility doubles in size
1991 : Sold to JL Foods, subsidiary of H.J. Heinz Company of Canada
1992 : Investment of $20 million for significant expansions and modernizations
1992 : Large waste water facility added
2003 : TriWest, a Calgary, Alberta based private equity company acquires facility
2007 : Fresh water fish division which occupied a large building directly across the harbor spunoff into a separate entity
2009 : Three other divisions, Coated Appetizers, Frozen Vegetables and Frozen Fruit were sold to separate companies
2011: MILO-FAIS acquires the facility