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There is lots of gloom and doom in the news around manufacturing these days. It seems that hardly a day goes by without a story about a plant closure. Yet, the reality on the ground is very different. It turns out there are lots of innovative Ontario manufacturers that are operating successfully below the radar. A team of student researchers visited a number of Ontario manufacturing ‘success’ stories. Here are the students’ profiles of the firms they visited and the people they met.

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Salford Group Inc.

Tucked away in a peaceful corner of Southwestern Ontario, a manufacturing giant is rising. In the eponymous Salford, Ontario, just southeast of Ingersoll, wheat fields sway gently in the breeze, cows meander across green pastures, and the population totals a prodigious 177. Meanwhile, Salford Group Inc. (Salford) is quietly pursuing an agenda of multi-million dollar

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Jones Packaging Inc.

The face of manufacturing has evolved significantly over the last century, and no one is better positioned to attest to this than Jones Packaging Inc. (Jones)—a company that has reached a level of success likely unimaginable to its founders four generations ago. Today, Christine Jones Harris and her husband, Ron Harris, lead the company, carrying

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Sweets from the Earth

“Sweet. Natural. Sinfully delicious.” Welcome to Sweets from the Earth, a North York family business manufacturing delicious vegan baked goods. President and founder Ilana Kadonoff emphasizes the company’s joint passion for social responsibility and decadent treats. Even the names of the products—lavender cupcakes, goji superstuff cookies, apple beet muffins, chocolate zucchini loaves, organic Medjool date

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Ontario Drive & Gear Ltd.

A thousand kilometres north into Hudson Bay, the entire world is blinding white, with tints of blue and grey. Suddenly, a flash of colour appears on the horizon. Steadily making its way across the ice is an ARGO, a special kind of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) manufactured by Ontario Drive and Gear (ODG) of New Hamburg,

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Mabel’s Labels

Although the manufacturing sector is rarely associated with the words “cute” or “mommy,” both terms are key descriptors for Hamilton-based Mabel’s Labels, a company that designs, manufactures, and distributes custom labels for children’s clothing and accessories. Mabel’s Labels targets modern busy mothers, offering a wide array of colours, patterns, fonts, and styles. Customized labels are

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Givens Engineering Inc.

In 1992, Swiss-based automation and power technologies company ABB Ltd. shuttered its massive plant in London, Ontario. Nearly 500 employees were laid off. Ray Givens was one of them. Even as a professional engineer with a master’s degree and more than six years’ industrial experience, Givens struggled to find a job. With no other prospects

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