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KELLOGG AUCTION

Last box of cereal made at London Kellogg's plant sold for $3,000 US

By Norman De Bono, The London Free Press

Remember a while back when a Timmins teacher found that final box of cereal to roll off the line at London’s Kellogg plant?

Well, it seems there were at least a few more of those “final” boxes.

One was found by that teacher and signed by former workers, and Museum London has two others, both donated by ex-employees.

And yet another, sitting in the lobby in a display case, went on the auction block Tuesday at the start of the three-day selloff of all things Kellogg at the former Dundas Street plant.

That box fetched $3,000 to ­benefit an as-of-yet unnamed London charity, but will take up residence in the St. Catharines ­corporate offices of BayShore Groups, which now owns the Kellogg site.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to purchase the cereal box,” said Leanna ­Johnson, ­executive assistant with ­International Machinery ­Movers in Cornwall — hired to move equipment from the plant — which bought the box but will donate it to BayShore.

“It’s a great piece of history. It reminds us that everyone worked together as a team for so long. It’s really a symbol of all the hard work done here.”

It’s not a concern others also claim the final box, because it has become a symbol of something far more important — the workers’ legacy, said Joe Fontana, ex-London mayor and consultant to BayShore.

BayShore was handed that box by Kellogg, with assurances this really is the final box, added Fontana.

norman.debono@sunmedia.ca

THE AUCTION

  • More than 5,000 items listed for sale over three days.
  • More than 550 buyers registered, in person and online, on first day.
  • 75 workers and skilled trades hired to remove equipment after sale.
  • Tuesday, small items including machines and tools.
  • Wednesday and Thursday, large, heavy production and processing machinery.

KELLOGG CANADA

  • Cereal maker opened in London in 1907; 93,000 square metres of plant and office space on nine hectares.
  • Closed December 2014.
  • Building sold for $4 million to BayShore Groups in June 2015.
  • Possible new uses include warehousing, manufacturing, office space, residential and tech space.

WHAT THEY SAID

“My job starts after the auction, about how that space will be used. We have a real interest in keeping the buildings intact and repurposing them. We want to keep the facility. We will meet with the city, planning and engineering. I know they have a vision for the McCormick site (across the street) and they are excited about this.” — Joe Fontana, former mayor, and consultant to BayShore Groups, which bought the former Kellogg site.

“There are a lot of auctions in the food industry but the size of this is unique. It is much larger than most others. There are a lot of items for sale here but they will sell.” — Ryan Haas, owner of Corporate Assets Inc., the auction house

“I am just curious. A few things caught my eye and I will bid on them.I have a farm and I’m an electrician so I am looking at electronic components. This is impressive, one of the biggest auctions around for a while, but it is a little dear for me.” — Eric Johnston, West Lorne farmer, of the16 per cent buyers’ premium and more than 30 per cent exchange at the auction (items were sold in U.S. dollars, and with 13 per cent tax on all items).

“I’m not happy to see the plant not be here. It is a shame. I bought a grinder for my garage for about $500. It’s just a hobby. The fact it is in U.S. funds makes it more difficult and the buyer premium bites, but they have to make their cut.” — David Phelps, Woodstock

“We’re interested in forklifts but we were really just curious about seeing it more than anything else. I would have liked to see this place when it was running.”— Joe Graber, with his brother Roman, St. Marys Amish farmers

“We wanted to see the equipment, but it’s sad to see it empty. It is a shame . . . you think about all the jobs lost.” — Dav Circelli, owner-operator of Circelli Sheet Metal

It’s a great piece of history. It reminds us that everyone worked together as a team for so long. It’s really a symbol of all the hard work done here. — Leanna Johnson of Cornwall’s International Machinery ­Movers, which paid $3,000 for this box of Frosted Flakes.


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