Wednesday's Featured Businesses

Meet Successful Local Businesses from the Foodpreneur Scale Up Program

View the Q & A Session
from Wednesday!

Watch the Panel!

Introduction

Phil Singeris, Business Advisor


What is the Foodpreneur Scale Up Program?

The Foodpreneur Scale Up program is designed specifically for food production and distribution businesses that demonstrate high growth potential. This 10 week program will provide business owners with access to industry experts, customized workshops and peer to peer discussion circles, that will provide the knowledge and tools necessary to successfully scale their businesses.


How would you describe the entrepreneurs you work with?

They are hard working, skilled individuals who are passionate about their business.


What lessons have you learned working with small businesses?

Value the effort and hard work that entrepreneurs give to their businesses every day, pay attention to details, celebrate the little victories, and enjoy the journey! 

Grace Restaurant and 

Grace Bodega

Angela Murphy

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Ceylon Select 
Tea

Dami Rodrigo

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Healthy
 Eats

Luke Thomas

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​Angela Murphy

Grace Restaurant and Grace Bodega

Tell us about your business

Grace is a family-owned small business named after my grandmother Grace Murphy. Grace opened as a fine dining restaurant in downtown London on May 31st, 2019. In March 2020 we opened Grace Pantry an online grocery and prepared meal service. In June 2021 we opened Grace Bodega, a brick-and-mortar shop for Grace Pantry as well as a wine bar and cafe. 

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

Being a small business owner is about being accountable to yourself. Instead of working and dedicating yourself to someone else's vision you are responsible for delivering on your own. The challenge is set by your own expectations and standards. Honestly, I think I became a small business owner because I have some issues with authority, I am easily bored in traditional work environments and I'm a little bit crazy. Also, a lot of people encouraged me to and I didn't want to let them down. 

How has the last 18 months Impacted and disrupted your business/industry, and how have you responded? 

During the last 18 months restrictions kept restaurants from fully opening for 415 days. We basically did every possible thing we could think of to survive. We did meal kits, we opened an online pantry to provide our suppliers with direct access to our clients, we made the street in front of the restaurant into a fully loaded Christmas market including many DIY items made by the staff and ownership, we made 4,000 brownies for London hospitals. It's been a year and a half of survival and last-ditch efforts to keep the lights on. Now we have three businesses with 20 staff members. 

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?

Be the kind of person you would want to work with. Always set up the people you are working with in the best way for them to succeed. This comes from working on the line in the kitchen and going to reach for something and finding out the guy from yesterday didn't make it or made it poorly. You have to trust and rely on others and the best way to ensure you get good teammates is to be one. Always be willing to do the worst job. Demonstrate that you are willing to do what needs to be done in your business. This will inspire your staff to care, have dignity and respect for every position. Get in the dish pit, scrub the toilets, take out the trash and empathize with your crew. 

What opportunities do you see ahead?

With all of the changes and sacrifices we have had to make to stay alive during the pandemic I am looking forward to narrowing my particular focus back to the parts of the business that bring me the most joy. I am looking forward to getting into the kitchen and being creative as mush as possible. I have an incredible team of managers that are nerds about their individual specialties whether that is pastry, coffee, wine, or social media marketing. I'm looking forward to letting them do their thing in their fields and enjoying my own. I think there is a ton of opportunity downtown in the next few years with the high rises being built and so many big city dwellers migrating to London. I would like to expand in the long term but for right now I could just use a vacation.

Don't forget to attend the Q&A with Angela!  Register here!

Check Out Their Website!
​Dami Rodrigo

Ceylon Select Tea

Tell us about your business
At Ceylon Select Tea, we specialize in authentic Sri Lankan tea and our own, exotic blends with herbs, spices and flower petals that can make you relaxed and rejuvenated and feel your best self. All our teas and the ingredients for the blends are organically and ethically sourced. Our teas are loaded with plant nutrients, and they taste delicious with no added flavours or sweeteners. 



What does being a small business owner mean to you, and why did you become one?
As a small business owner, I can develop a close relationship with my customers and provide personalized service and get their feedback. I became a small business owner to share my passion for natural products and their properties with everyone. My business has allowed me to show who I am and share a bit of my culture and background with the community. 

How has the last 18 months impacted and disrupted your business/industry, and how have you responded?
During the last 18 months, I had a very hard time sourcing importing the ingredients for the tea blends. I had to slow down the progress and just go with the flow.

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?

You have to have a lot of patience to run a business. Practicing yoga and self-realization meditation help me stay calm and deal with unexpected situations that I had no control over. It gave me a whole new outlook on life and inner strength.

What opportunities do you see ahead?

Now that I have secured my supply chain, I can expand my business and distribute my products outside of London. I hope to grow our online sector and make our products available to anyone. It is a huge strength to know there is ongoing support from The Small Business Centre and other organizations for small business owners like me.

Don't forget to attend the Q&A with Dami!  Register here!

Check Out Their Website!
​Luke Thomas

Healthy Eats

Tell us about your business

Healthy Eats is a meal prep delivery service that helps busy individuals reach their nutrition and lifestyle goals by using only the best quality ingredients.

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

To me, being a small business owner is about being proud. Nothing is easy about it but I have the passion and commitment, and believe in my product and that's what makes me proud. Becoming one wasn’t really a plan. My family started a farm and I think hard work and dedication has always run in my family, and I believe that’s why I became one.

How has the last 18 months impacted and disrupted your business/industry, and how have you responded?
The last 18 months has been crazy and chaotic. The food sector didn’t take a large hit but instead the opposite. There was a large demand for food, and more particular, food that was delivered to your door. This was a bonus and a negative. I had to constantly change and adapt. Large corporations got extremely busy so in order to compete I had to change my product, packaging, delivery system, website to make it the most user friendly and easy for my clients/ customers to receive my product. It helped me grow and take on challenges that I would have seen later down the road at a faster pace.

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 hard work. No matter what the product is or the job that needs to get done, if you do not work your butt off it will not get done. If you don’t get on the phone and call people for sales, marketing, promotion, whatever it may be, your product will not sell. If it is Friday night at 9pm and all your friends are out, and you would rather be out than finish your work, you will not be successful - it is as easy as that. And no one cares more about your business than you do.

Who has been your greatest inspiration in business and why?

My greatest inspiration in business is definitely my grandpa. He started a cash crop farm back in the 60s. Learning more about what he had to do to succeed, or how hard he had to work to keep things afloat, keep his family fed. Just anything that needed to be done, he was there and worked his butt off to get things done. And I think there is nothing more impressive than that and I hope to one day be the man he is.

What are the opportunities you see ahead?

I’m currently in the process of a second location, and hopefully in the near future I can franchise to multiple different cities/ locations - so I’m in the process of doing that!

Don't forget to attend the Q&A with Luke!  Register here!

Check Out Their Website!

Connect & Inspire During Small Business Week!

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