Ideal Foods founder to be in­ducted into busi­ness hall

‘Be hon­est with peo­ple and tell them the way it is’

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

This is the sec­ond in a se­ries of four stories high­light­ing this year’s in­ductees to the Cape Bre­ton Busi­ness and Phi­lan­thropy Hall of Fame

When Joe Braun­miller is asked the se­cret to build­ing a suc­cess­ful busi­ness in Cape Bre­ton he has a straight­for­ward an­swer.

“Be hon­est with peo­ple and tell them the way it is,” the founder of Ideal Foods said. “Don’t tell them one thing and then there’s no truth in it. Like the fella says, ‘Don’t BS me, tell me the truth,’ that’s the way I al­ways found was the best way to go with peo­ple.”

De­liv­er­ing a good prod­uct for good value to cus­tomers is how to build trust with your mar­ket, he said.

“When you’re small, that’s the main thing you’ve got to work on, is qual­ity and good work, if you say you’re go­ing to get some­thing to them by such a date, do your best to get it there.”

On May 23, Braun­miller will be in­ducted into the Cape Bre­ton Busi­ness and Phi­lan­thropy Hall of Fame to rec­og­nize his busi­ness and com­mu­nity in­volve­ment.

Where Mas­ter Meats is cur­rently lo­cated on Johnston Street in Syd­ney, Braun­miller’s fa­ther used to op­er­ate Ideal Sausage, where he made sausage and pep­per­oni and other items. When his fa­ther’s health be­gan fail­ing, Braun­miller, who was in his mid-20s and in the Amer­i­can air force at the time, was asked to re­turn home to of­fer some as­sis­tance.

While he de­scribes him­self at the time as be­ing a bit of a “roamer,” Braun­miller made the de­ci­sion to re­turn to Cape Bre­ton.

“I came home and I ended up buy­ing out his part­ner and the two of us got into busi­ness,” he said. “Later on, I got out of the man­u­fac­tur­ing end of it and got more into dis­tri­bu­tion.”

Braun­miller ended up pro­vid­ing dis­tri­bu­tion for Sch­nei­der Foods and some other com­pa­nies. The work mostly in­volved pur­chas­ing food prod­ucts from larger com­pa­nies and re­selling it lo­cally around Cape Bre­ton. He later went into busi­ness as a mi­nor part­ner with a Hal­i­fax-based friend in a sim­i­lar ven­ture un­til his part­ner even­tu­ally sold out to IGA.

Braun­miller said there have been a lot of changes in the food ser­vice in­dus­try since he first got in­volved in it.

“To­day, there’s hardly any small fel­lows around, it’s all just the big guys left,” he said.

Braun­miller and his late wife Con­nie — who he said played a big role in the busi­ness look­ing after the book­keep­ing — had three chil­dren, Dar­lene, Brenda and Dar­ryl.

At the busi­ness’s peak, Ideal Foods em­ployed about 14 peo­ple. He has also con­trib­uted to his com­mu­nity, through roles such as serv­ing as pres­i­dent of the Kins­men.

Braun­miller re­tired from busi­ness in the early 1990s.

“Play­ing a lit­tle golf, help­ing out around the neigh­bours, friends,” he said, when asked how he now spends his re­tire­ment years.

When asked to re­flect back on mem­o­ries from his years his busi­ness, Braun­miller re­called the early days of an­other suc­cess­ful lo­cal busi­ness, Mas­ter Meats, not­ing he sold that com­pany the prop­erty where it’s lo­cated.

“I had built a new place out on Keltic Drive and I told them, I’ve got this place down on Johnston Street, it’s got re­frig­er­a­tion al­ready in it, you’ve got a walk-in freezer,” he said. “I said you may have to make some changes inside … They’ve been there ever since. They put out a good prod­uct.”

Braun­miller gen­er­ally tries to de­flect at­ten­tion paid to him but agreed to the Cape Bre­ton Busi­ness and Phi­lan­thropy Hall of Fame ac­knowl­edge­ment be­cause he be­lieves his chil­dren were likely be­hind his nom­i­na­tion.


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