Starting a business can be frightening; you're investing your time, money, and passion into a fiercely competitive market. And to build a successful food and beverage business, you have to be in it for the long haul — some businesses can take up to 15 years to build! But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. To give you hope, here are some success stories you can find on shelves right now:Meet an OAFVC Food Entrepreneur
Saucy Dotty’s Original Gourmet Sauce
Dotty and her husband (now deceased) had a lifelong dream to bottle and sell a family recipe; but they never had the opportunity to do it together. Dotty was a senior citizen when, as part of the Presqu'ile Probus Club, she went on a tour around OAFVC’s commercial kitchen and saw an opportunity to make her dream happen. So at 77 years old — on her own — Dotty started bottling her sauces, and within a year, Saucy Dotty’s Original Gourmet Sauce had taken off.
At OAFVC, the goal is to support budding entrepreneurs until they can run their own kitchen. And Dotty is doing just that. Originally, she was bottling 2500 sauces a month, but due to the popularity of the product, Dotty is now moving to her own facility where she can bottle even more sauces to keep up with demand.
Andy’s Original Honey Dill Dressing
Andy had been working in catering for a long time when he decided to turn his sauces into a product. Having worked as a chef, he didn’t want to take the risk of making his product in his own kitchen, so he decided to test the feasibility of his product by renting a food-grade facility instead. Andy bought his own shrink-label machine, and used OAFVC’s commercial kitchen to produce and bottle the sauces — thus, PEC Foods Inc was born. Andy spends two days a month at OAFVC making his products, and Andy’s Original Honey Dill Dressing can be found at grocery stores around Ontario.
Dare 2 Dream Farm Honey & Sweet Dream Foods
Steve and Patty started Dare 2 Dream Farm in 2013. After Steve was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease in 2010, the couple decided to switch to clean eating, and starting producing their own maple syrup and honey. having fallen in love with the process, Steve and Patty made a 10-year plan to grow their farm, creating Dare 2 Dream Farm Honey.
Four years later, as the business grew, Tyler (Steve and Patty’s oldest son) and his wife Lindy began Sweet Dream Foods, packing honey and maple syrup as natural sweeteners. Now Sweet Dream Foods also experiments with new recipes, such as infusing vinegars into their products, and even testing new mustard products.
Sherni’s Indian Sauces
Ashok and his son, Sunny, blended family recipes with their culinary experience to create the famous line of curry sauces: Sherni’s Indian Sauces. Using natural ingredients, Sherni’s Sauces are used at pubs and their products can also be found at independent grocers and have even been featured on the Food Network.
While Ashok had extensive experience working in the food industry prior to creating Sherni’s, the brand still took years of development and testing at Guelph Food Technology Center to become the product it is now. And even now, despite being a well established brand, Sunny still creates new products, which he tests and develops at OAFVC.
A Safer Way to Start Your Food Business
So what do all these businesses have in common? They’ve partnered with OAFVC before, whether it’s seeking advice, or using the facilities to create and test new products. Not only does OAFVC have a food-grade commercial kitchen, it also has labelling services, food scientists, and a great network for food entrepreneurs — basically everything new food businesses need to get started.
And since OAFVC is a non-profit municipal initiative, the rates are affordable, and all the services aim to help your food and beverage business succeed.
To take a tour of OAFVC’s commercial kitchen download the map below: