Yesterday Isabella Pellet held the grand opening for its new facility in Weidman, just a few minutes outside of Mount Pleasant.
The weather was perfect – scattered clouds, cool and breezy with just a hint of fall in the air – exactly the kind of weather to get you thinking about heating your home and getting through the typically tough Michigan winter. I use the word “perfect” because home heating is one of the main uses for Isabella Pellet’s products.
The company takes Michigan Red Pine sawmill waste wood and converts it into pellets that can be used for wood stoves or animal bedding. The process is fairly straightforward as the raw material – basically chunky sawdust – is dried, milled, pressed, bagged and loaded onto pallets. Unlike many factories, the only real odor is the fresh scent of pine.
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development provided a $1.2 million loan guarantee through our Business Program to Chemical Bank to help finance the project, which has created 13 jobs.
State Director for Michigan James J. Turner noted that not only was the project providing direct employment to the plant’s employees, it was helping the lumber industry find new uses for what would otherwise be a waste product. In addition, it was reducing Michigan’s dependency on imported energy supplies.
The state director was joined by staffer Melissa Horste from U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, who presented a letter to the owners, and Kali Fox from U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Also attending was Ryan Tarrant, representing Congressman Dave Camp and dozens of local residents.
After the brief remarks, it was time to cut the cake and enjoy the day.