Choosing a site for your business – whether it be a new venture or an existing firm – is a complex and strategically crucial challenge. It involves weighing such priorities as achieving access to markets and labour, the right infrastructure, or competitive operating costs. In Sarnia-Lambton, there is no need to compromise. We provide you with the opportunity to carve out an exceptional competitive advantage for your company.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. Browse through our testimonial videos below, highlighting innovative businesses in key sectors located in Sarnia-Lambton, and find out why they attribute much of their success to this community and its resources.
Transforming garbage into fuel; this is exactly what Woodland Biofuels are doing and with great efficiency. They have developed a technology that enables them to convert waste biomass into automotive fuels, specifically ethanol. Where others have failed, Woodland Biofuels have triumphed, successfully converting waste biomass into automotive fuel at their Sarnia-Lambton demonstration plant in Sarnia-Lambton. The demonstration plant is an integrated, end-to-end biomass-to-ethanol operation. As for choosing Sarnia-Lambton, Woodland Biofuels Inc. CEO, Greg Nuttall, explains that it was the result of a long and rigorous search across Ontario, with Sarnia proving itself to be the most logical destination, “There is a deep expertise here in Sarnia, an extensive pool of labour and an incredible infrastructure that's in place to help support chemical and petrol chemical innovations and now Woodland Biofuels facilities. We are tapping into that ecosystem built up here in Sarnia for many years”, Nuttall explained.
How does a Tawainese company decide to start the next big chapter of it’s business in Sarnia- Lambton? Like many opportunities, it was timing. Dexter Hsu, General Manager of LCY Biosciences in Sarnia, says: “We had to decide, are we going to build a new plant or should we try and find an existing plant that would meet our needs. We got lucky that this beautiful plant in Sarnia-Lambton was for sale, so we acquired it.” The opportunity to acquire a plant was not the only thing that drew LCY Biosciences to Sarnia-Lambton. The deep talent pool and connected business community has proven beneficial for their business development and continued growth. “Sarnia-Lambton has a big chemical industrial park, so we have access to a good talent pool," says Hsu. "In terms of business development, we work with Lambton College and they support us in our research and development. Organizations like the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership and Bioindustrial Innovation Canada help us to connect to the local partners, form a strategy and plan to get support from Canada both provincially and federally to move our new business development forward.”
In 1953 Mike Cornelisson’s grandfather moved to the Sarnia-Lambton area from Holland to begin a family business of farming crops and raising broiler chickens. The next generation remained in the area, seeking to carry on their grandfather's farming legacy. While attending college, Mike became enthusiastic about pursuing the unique idea to harness landfill gasses, namely methane, to heat greenhouses. His idea was to strategically locate a greenhouse near a landfill. He got his fiance Danielle and family on board and the work began. “Warwick Township is very friendly to new businesses coming to the area, so they were really good to work with to help us get this project on the ground and get it going. And the community is great too”. Mike and Danielle enjoy Sarnia-Lambton as a locale for their business, primarily because of the community and relationships with local businesses like High Speed Internet with Brooke Telecom, and Roelands Plant Farms, who provide them with their baby pepper plants each year. The proximity to the US border has also been key to the company's early success. The majority of their peppers are exported to the United States. Next year when they have all 40 acres at full capacity, they will be sending one transport truck full of peppers each day from Twin Creeks Greenhouse to the United States.
Twin Pines is a cidery that does it all. Grow, pick, press and bottle. They have over 50 varieties of trees and are pressing over one million litres of cider per year. In 2015 Twin Pines entered the largest cider competition in the world held in Grand Rapids Michigan, and they took away ‘Best in Show’. Located in Thedford, Twin Pines is situated in an ideal tourist location. There are a number of cottages nearby which are both seasonal and permanent, as well as larger economical bases like Sarnia and London to draw from. The proximity to Lake Huron entices beachers and boaters to visit the cidery and take home multiple varieties of their delicious cider. Co-Owner and Cider Maker Mike Vansteenkiste is enjoying the new trend toward wineries, breweries and cideries in the Sarnia-Lambton area, and the culture in Sarnia-Lambton is positive one, Mike reflected. “Everybody has an easy going approach when they come here. It's more like a neighbourly way of dealing."
Tucked away in the small town of Alvinston in Lambton County, Munro Honey & Meadery is home to five generations of beekeepers and honey producers, and has become the largest producer of mead in Ontario. Owned by the Bryans family, including brothers John and Davis, the business celebrated its centennial in 2014. Munro Honey & Meadery produces and exports 100- 200 thousand pounds of honey on average per year. When it comes to honey, they do it all. They sell honey to grocery chains and local stores, beekeeping supplies to beekeeping hobbyists, as well as exporting honey to the US in bulk. However, the production of ‘honey’ is only where the story of Munro Honey & Meadery begins. Not content to limit themselves to honey production, in 1999 they made the brave and ambitious decision to expand into the production of mead. Blazing a trail and becoming the first commercial meadery in Ontario, their meads regularly medal and win prestigious awards at international mead competitions.
Link2Feed is a technology start-up with an overarching social mission. Their goal is to help non-profits who work in the poverty relief and food insecurity space, gather data about the people they serve so they can understand how to improve poverty and food insecurity in their community. Emily Branton, Link2Feed’s president shared some of the company’s most exciting achievements to date, “Link2Feed is actually a required system for every single Salvation Army location across Canada. We are also working with Food Banks Canada and their provincial associations to have every single food bank under their network use Link2Feed as well. This means that in the next few years, every food bank across the country will be using our system to serve people living in poverty.” Sarnia-Lambton is a place most synonymous with the petro-chemical industry, so why did the team at Link2Feed decide it was the best place for a social impact tech start up? Branton explained, “Sarnia has deep roots in philanthropy and the non-profit space. If you’re a tech company, you can be location independent, which makes a city like Sarnia make a lot of sense.”
In 2017 silicon valley start-up ClearCare came to Sarnia-Lambton with ambitions of acquiring the company Hometrak. ClearCare’s acquisition of Hometrak was motivated not only by a shared entrepreneurial DNA, but precisely because of its location in Sarnia-Lambton. Moyra Miller, Vice President of customer success implementation and integrations explained, “The CEO and the COO came to Sarnia-Lambton and they loved the community, they truly did. It's positioned very well because of its proximity to Detroit and Toronto. The other thing that attracted us was the talent here. I think they were very pleasantly surprised by the type and the caliber of talent that was here.” The story of a Silicon Valley tech company's acquisition of a local entrepreneurial start-up, serves as a reminder that the area is quickly growing into a viable and reputable location for aspiring tech start ups.
LamSar Inc. is a full service heavy industrial contractor servicing household brand names in North America and across the world. They manufacture locally and ship all over the world. LamSar works primarily in the oil and gas and energy industries, fabricating and installing everything from vessels to piping, to structural steel, heaters, reformers, tubing systems and exchangers. Whatever the company builds, they also install. On any given week they can be found working in oil refineries, polyethylene facilities, cogeneration plants for electricity and on pipelines. Time and time again Sarnia-Lambton has proven itself to be the ideal home for LamSar to flourish. “It’s very rich in resources, in terms of people. There's a solid base of trades people and engineers and operating engineers that we require to form our work”, Hill explained. At any given moment there are around five to six thousand tradespeople in the Sarnia-Lambton region. Hill added, “This area, it's like a microcosm of the oil sands. We are self contained here. We can manage our work without any outside interference and that is certainly beneficial to the company."
President and Owner of Advanced Finishing Technologies, Max Wiener says that the main attraction in bringing Advanced Finishing Technologies to Sarnia-Lambton was its proximity to the border. “We are in the automotive business. If you draw a circle around Sarnia-Lambton, within 5 hours you can be in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Toronto. So from that perspective, it was a good location.” Wiener was also impressed by the labour force in Sarnia Lambton. “Sarnia has a very good infrastructure. You can find every machine shop and every highly qualified worker here," he explained. “Sarnia-Lambton has a tremendous amount of talent in terms of machining and fabricating and in our business all of our equipment is stainless steel. It's very interesting to see how little people in the US know about Sarnia in terms of what talent is here even though they see the factories." Wiener predicts that in the future, automotive companies from Toronto will eventually set up facilities in Sarnia-Lambton and he will be here ready and already a step ahead of the competition.
Lamperd Less Lethal is an innovation leader and manufacturer of advanced security solutions for law enforcement, military and security agencies worldwide. What makes their business unique is they don’t make a single lethal weapon. CEO Barry Lamperd recalls how Sarnia-Lambton's location on the border was one of the main reasons the family decided to relocate to Sarnia 30 years ago. “We wanted to be closer to the border. At that time we did a tremendous amount of work and training with the police officers in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana." Lamperd Less Lethal is truly one of Sarnia-Lambton's most unique business enterprises. And whilst they deal in products closely associated with security and combat, their mission has always remained the same: to save lives. “That is key for us and it'll never change”, commented Lamperd.