Tuesday's Featured Businesses

Meet Successful Local Businesses from the Scale Up! Food Accelerator Program

View the Q & A Session
from Tuesday!

Here's The Link!

Introduction

John Anagnostou, Business Advisor


What is the Scale Up! Food Accelerator Program?

“Scale Up” is a program offered by The London Small Business Centre, in conjunction with LEDC and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, to assist growing food production distribution businesses of consumer-packaged goods, in the London area.

The program provides training and grants of $5000 to eligible participants who meet the requirements and successfully complete the program. 


How would you describe the entrepreneurs you work with?

The entrepreneurs in the Scale Up F&B program are self-motivated, hardworking individuals seeking to scale their businesses by expanding facilities, increasing capacity, and hiring Londoners. They are part of the economic fiber of our community. They are innovators in their field catering to new trends and target markets.


Why are small businesses so important to our community?

At their beginning, all large businesses started small. As businesses grow, they hire help. Therefore, in essence, they are supporting families in our community. These hired individuals, pay taxes to support our municipal, provincial and federal infrastructure such as our roads, our schools and hospitals. These businesses pay their share of taxes and therefore help our economy as well.
Having said that, it is so important to support our local businesses. Buy Local!


What lessons have you learned working with small businesses?

The lessons I have learned working with these businesses are many. I have learned from them the importance to plan for success. Each and every one of these successful entrepreneurs has followed a fluid blueprint of goals and objectives. I have learned from them that persisting to believe in providing quality products at the right price and with excellent customer service is part of the formula to success. I have also learned that sometimes, overnight success may take years of combined perspiration, inspiration and passion to achieve.

Nuts For Cheese

Margaret Coons

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Booch Organic Kombucha

Shannon Kamins

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The Fritter Shop

Kelvin Van Rijn

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​Margaret Coons

Nuts For Cheese

Tell us about your business

 Nuts For Cheese is a vegan food manufacturer specializing in 100% dairy-free, certified Organic, Vegan and Fairtrade vegan cheese and butter. Since launching at the Western Fair Farmer’s Market in 2015, we’ve grown to 30 full-time employees with products available across Canada and now the US. 

What does being a small business owner mean to you, and why did you become one?

feel so fortunate to be a small business owner and am incredibly grateful for my growing team - my inspiration came from a love for the culinary arts and making delicious, plant-based options more widely available. It’s been a dream come true and I’m so excited for the next chapter of our journey.

What is the biggest hurdle you have managed to overcome?

Scaling up to meet national demand while maintaining the artisanal and high quality attributes of our products was a challenge! Our expansion into the US has also thrown a few learning curves but we are continuing to make gains. 

What is the most important lesson you have learned in business that has served you well and has helped shape who you are as a person?

Coming from a culinary background with little business experience, it’s been incredibly important to seek mentorship and be willing to learn. Knowing when to ask for help is crucial for any entrepreneur! 

Who has been your greatest inspiration in business and why?

One of my greatest inspirations is my mom - a Nuts For Cheese fan since day one, she’s facilitated valuable connections and shared business/sales advice that we use every day!

As you forge ahead, what is it that excites you?

The growing market demand and increasing consumer trend toward plant-based eating is moving so fast, it’s incredible. We’re happy to be part of a growing category with endless opportunities. 

Small Business Week recognizes the importance of people like you. Do you have anything special planned to celebrate?

I am honoured to be featured by the London Small Business Centre! For me, nothing celebrates a job-well-done like kicking back by practicing some yoga, experimenting a little in my kitchen and diving into a great book. 

Don't forget to attend the Q&A with Margaret! View Tuesday's Discussion Here.

Check Out Their Website!
​Shannon Kamins

Booch Organic Kombucha

Tell us about your business

Booch is a heart-centered business operating with eco-regenerative business practices, synergy, connection, gratitude, compassion, purpose and love. We are the manufacturers of healing organic beverages. We share the story of connecting consumers to themselves, to the community and to the planet through offering them a living fermented beverage filled with beneficial microbes that enhance their health and wellbeing. 

What does being a small business owner mean to you, and why did you become one?

Being a small business owner means that I have the ability to live my passion and purpose on a daily basis. It means having the capacity to learn, grow and be in the ever-changing flow of business; adapting and pivoting to meet



new demands, and solving issues as they arise with   calmness and grace. It means ensuring livable wages for my team, and taking risks that others are fearful of. I became a small business owner because I wanted to put all of my effort and heart's desire into something I was truly passionate about. It didn't exist at the time, so I had to create it. 

What is your greatest business accomplishment to date?

My greatest accomplishment is the product itself. It's knowing that I am contributing to the health of individuals; providing them a kombucha made with the best quality ingredients, sourced organically from local farms, that has the ability to enhance their immune systems and wellbeing. It's feeling pride in the product, even after 5 years of business. 

What is the most important lesson you have learned in business that has served you well and has helped shape who you are as a person?

The most important lesson is the inability to control the future. Problems arise, team members change roles or leave the company, and no matter what, you just have to go with the flow and accept that the future is unknown. You have to be ready to adapt to change at any given moment, but also not let this rule you or keep you up at night. It is the ability to operate with ease and consistency in the present moment that ensures you have grace and balance.     

Who has been your greatest inspiration in business and why?

Without a doubt, Rokhsana Purdy, my best friend and inspiration. Rokhsana operates her business as a mirror of who she is. She stands for what she believes in, and cuts out the bull****. She is the hardest worker I know and dedicates her life to her passion. She is a get-to-the-point, bad-ass business owner who is incredibly successful without the politics. Her values aren't in the magazine write ups or the awards; they are in the loyal customers that come in, the businesses she supports, and the buzzing community she creates around her. She has paved the path in terms of authenticity, and other businesses want to be just like hers. 

As you forge ahead, what is it that excites you?

What excites me is endless creative expression and opportunity. It's learning new things and integrating that into the products we create. It's becoming a better decision maker for the Earth, and providing an even better work environment for our team. 

Small Business Week recognizes the importance of people like you. Do you have anything special planned to celebrate?

We just opened our new Tap Room at 1027 Clarke Road and are open Fridays and Saturdays. We are celebrating by bringing in a variety of local produced fermented products from krauts and kimchis, fermented sourdough danishes and croissants, to cultured vegan cheese, fresh pressed juice and more. 

Don't forget to attend the Q&A with Shannon! View Tuesday's Discussion Here.

Check Out Their Website!
Kelvin Van Rijn

The Fritter Shop

Tell us about your business

Established in 2016, The Fritter Shop is a specialty Dutch dessert shop. The business rooted from the Dutch tradition of making fresh apple fritters to celebrate the coming of a new year. We expanded on this product to a variety of different flavours ranging from blueberry or raspberry to cherry cheesecake and even brownie fritters. We started out as a small, family-run business but are now expanding into a franchise system with 3 new locations opening up within the next 6 months.

What does being a small business owner mean to you, and why did you become one?

Being a small business owner to me means having an 

outlet to bring my ideas to life. I love entrepreneurship because I have the ability to trust my gut and make decisions based on my perception of how a great business can be run. I became an entrepreneur because I’ve always felt it was my calling. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs with both my parents having owned their own businesses along with my aunts, uncles, cousins and my opa all having run or currently running their own business.

What is the biggest hurdle you have managed to overcome?

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome has been transitioning from a family business to a real franchisor. There are so different rules and regulations to abide by when growing into a larger company. Your customer also changes from being your end user to your franchisee who have completely different needs. This still is a learning curve for us but we are adapting well and are good at changing things as we need to.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in business that has served you well and has helped shape who you are as a person?

The most important lesson I have learned in business is that if you’re kind and you work hard; good things will come to you. I have seen this time and time again. Your network is so important in business, especially when you’re first starting out. If you’re a good person and put yourself out there, not just at networking events but also with your business at farmer’s markets, events or trade shows, you will get noticed. How you present yourself in each of those conversations shapes how people view you and you never know who you might have left with a great impression and how that may come around again to greatly benefit you. 

Who has been your greatest inspiration in business and why?

My greatest inspiration has been my parents. I have seen them work so hard for as long as I can remember, and they have done some great things with their careers. They ran a phenomenal and successful bakery in downtown Amsterdam for 12 years. Then started up in Canada again building a reputation for themselves again solely based on how good their pastries were as their English wasn’t so strong. I aspire to run a business like how I watched them do it for so many years as I was growing up.   

As you forge ahead, what is it that excites you?

There’s so much I’m excited about. We’re finally in the stage of business I’ve been trying to get to for the past 5 years. Franchising has always been the long-term goal for me with The Fritter Shop. I’m so excited to open more locations and get fritters to so many more people in different cities. Not just that, but to find other like-minded entrepreneurs that see value in the business I’m running, so much so that they want to be a part of it and become a franchisee. I thrive when being around other entrepreneurs who have a passion for building something that brings value to the community through creating jobs, giving back and of course bringing pure happiness by providing fritters. 

Small Business Week recognizes the importance of people like you. Do you have anything special planned to celebrate?

Because we’re so busy setting up this franchise system, I don’t have a lot of time to celebrate Small Business Week. What I do plan on doing is going to my parents’ house, opening a bottle of wine with them and reminiscing on the past 5 years we’ve had and all the ups and downs we’ve been through. It has been a crazy, eventful and rewarding ride so far. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for The Fritter Shop. 

Don't forget to attend the Q&A with Kelvin! View Tuesday's Discussion Here.

Check Out Their Website!

Connect & Inspire During Small Business Week!

#SmallBizLdnOnt

If you have business tips or would like to share your business success story, connect with our entrepreneurial community on social media with the hashtag #SmallBizLdnOnt