By November of 2016, with a deal in place with Save-On across the Prairies, it became clear that Markiw’s family business would need to move on from the FPDC and find space large enough to accommodate the company’s planned increase in output. The solution? In early 2017, Range Road Meat Co. began to make plans to shift operations to the facility’s Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator, just down the hall.
Whereas companies using the FPDC can take advantage both of the human resources there and the state-of-the-art machinery, once they move into the Incubator they must bring their own equipment. “It was a massive jump to get in there,” says Markiw. Range Road had to invest about $1.4 million and several months to set up, prepare and test their equipment before moving in and commencing operations in August of 2017.
The leap was made much less of a burden by the continued support of the FPDC staff and the significantly lower-than-market monthly lease rates for their space. “They have a great open-door policy,” he says, “and there’s a team of six quality-assurance people, whose services are a part of our lease fees” and whose HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) knowledge has proven invaluable. Asked if what he’s learned about food safety has been the best thing to come out of his time in the Incubator, Markiw hesitates. “It’s hard to rank them,” he admits, “and the physical space itself is spectacular. But yes, having that expertise in quality control is a massive value-added component.”