Parker Maple Farm will lease former St. Lawrence Brewery space from IDA in Canton, hopes to add 6 jobs
By JIMMY LAWTON
CANTON -- Parker Maple Farm, Inc. will lease will lease more than 7,000 square feet of space from the Industrial Development Agency to expand storage and production for the business.
St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency approved the lease of space at the former St. Lawrence Brewing building, which went out of business in 2016.Joshua Parker said the company plans to manufacture maple butter, maple syrup and maple cotton candy in the new production space. He said the lease will also provide office and storage space for the business.
Parker started the business in 2013 in a modest fashion. He said that year he made just 15 gallons worth of syrup, but in 2014 he was producing thousands of gallons.
Over the next few years the business has shifted away from harvesting maple syrup and moved toward producing specialized maple products.
"That was a hard transition. Making maple syrup is what I fell in love with first, but we realized we can do more good for small farmers and local producers if we focus on what we are good at which is taking raw commodity bottling it, proccessing and selling it," he said.
Parker said he is excited about the new space because it will allow his business to accelerate that production.
"To me this is the next level. It opens us up to a world of possibilities and gives us a lot more space," he said.
Parker said initially his company is just leasing space from the IDA, but he sees more opportunities to partner with agency down the road.
"We are really excited to be working with the IDA. They have already been a great help to us and I think they can provide expertise that will help the business continue to grow," he said.
The company plans on adding six jobs over the next three years to its existing seven-person workforce in Canton.
Officials at the IDA are also excited about Parker's expansion.
“To use a hockey term as we turn toward winter, this project is a real hat trick. A locally-owned company is expanding in Canton, they are utilizing local agriculture resources, and they are creating jobs. When we developed this park in Canton, this is exactly the type of activity we hoped to help support,” St. Lawrence County IDA Chair Brian W. Staples said.
St. Lawrence County and the IDA recently approved a new comprehensive economic development strategy that specifically lists the development of value-added processing for locally-originated raw materials as an economic development opportunity. Expanding the capacity of value added production in the county is also a goal of the county’s 2016 agricultural development plan.
“We’re obviously very excited to work with Josh and the Parker Maple team as they expand in Canton. The addition of production capacity and jobs in the agri-business sector are a key part of our overall development strategy and it is great for the County to have products made here which are sold throughout the country,” IDA CEO Patrick J. Kelly said.
Parker Maple Farm, LLC was founded in 2013 by Joshua Parker in Canton with the principal focus of making maple syrup.
Parker’s Real Maple is now a national brand with three different products, maple butter, maple syrup and maple cotton candy available in numerous regional and national stores. Parker’s Maple products can now be found on the shelves of Costco, Wegmans, Shaw’s, ACME, Kinney Drugs, FasTrac Markets, Safeway and Whole Foods.