By Justin Seward
Red Hat Co-op’s general manager Gillain Digman got a call at home that the Redcliff business was on fire on May 26 and that lead to several different thoughts at that moment.
“I was so shocked, frightened and scared for my workers,” she said.
“I was at home so made my way here.”
The 150 workers who were at the warehouse that morning got out unscathed, except for one person who was injured prior to the evacuation and went home with minor injuries.
“He’s doing OK,” she said.
“He’s been off resting but he’ll be back at work soon.”
The fire investigator and the insurance representatives arrived and they made efficient work of their processes so clean-up could commence and get the building up to food standard again.
Damage was done to the receiving area of the building where product is dropped off.
“It has to bring back to that standard again,” she said.
“Staff have been great. The morale has really been good and positive. They’re like ‘lets get the job done.’”
She said “product doesn’t stop growing,” and the company needed to find a way to process the vegetables and fortunate the support came from Ryan Cramer at Big Marble Farms., who has a packing facility at his greenhouse for cucumbers and mini-cucumbers.
“He generously allowed us to go over there and work a night shift,” said Digman.
“So they’re working days to pack their cucumbers and their packing the rest of the Co-op’s cucumbers and mini-cucumbers at night with our staff. Eldorado Farms let us use their coolers to bring to the product into store until we’re ready to pack it.”
RedHat’s industry partner in Calgary, Star Group’s packing facility is also being used for product packing.
“Everything is still getting packed, it’s just not as efficient as it used to be,” said Digman.
“We’re getting the job done. We just got to focus here now on getting the facility back up and running.”
By the end of last week, growing product was expected to be arriving, while shipping starting later on.