TASTE OF SUCCESS
Charlottetown entrepreneur gets his product on store shelves across Atlantic Canada
Charlottetown entrepreneur thrilled to get his product on store shelves across Atlantic Canada
It’s been quite a year for Charlottetown entrepreneur Ryan Abdallah.
First, he won the $30,000 grand prize in February in the Food Island Partnership Food Xcel program, beating out seven competitors with his Marouns garlic paste.
Now, his garlic paste is on sale at Sobeys stores across Atlantic Canada, as well as locations in Charlottetown such as the Riverview Country Market and the Kent Street Market.
“We’ve only been on the market for a week, but from what I’m told it’s selling like hot cakes,’’ Abdallah said. “I heard from Sobeys . . . sales are great.’’
He produced the garlic paste at Cedar’s Eatery, a restaurant on Great George Street in Charlottetown, which his family opened in 1979. The restaurant is well known for its Lebanese cuisine using recipes that have been in the Abdallah family for generations.
And, Ryan’s garlic paste has been a hit with customers at the restaurant.
“It’s been a long road. I think it was 10 years ago I first put the stuff in a jar and made a label for it and had the idea. But it was only in the last few years that it started picking up some traction.
“I was scoping out containers and making labels and playing with the idea the last 10 years.’’
He persisted with Sobeys and managed to get an appointment where he sold them on the good name the family has in the restaurant business as well as the Marouns as a niche product.
Like many entrepreneurs, Abdallah doesn’t expect to see much of a return on his investment, at least right away.
“If all goes well, I loose my shirt this year; hopefully keep my pants until next year and see what happens. The time I’ve put into it, so far, is countless. Ask my friends, they said, ‘You have to be crazy to do that. You have to put a lot of time without getting any time or money back’.’’
And, like most entrepreneurs, Abdallah isn’t putting all his eggs in one basket, as they say. He’s working on other products, although that’s all he’ll say for now.
He also wants to educate the public, and that begins on Saturday, July 22.
Sobeys has asked Abdallah to do an in-store promotion at its West Royalty branch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. where customers can sample and purchase the garlic paste.
Abdallah also wants to educate Sobeys shoppers across the region about the history of the product.
And, he’d eventually love to see the Maroun’s garlic paste on store shelves across the country.
Ryan Abdallah has realized one of his long-time goals, to get his product on store shelves. The Charlottetown entrepreneur’s Maroun’s garlic paste is now on sale at all Sobeys loctions across Atlantic Canada. He’s pictured here with Matthew Gauthier, store manager of the Sobey’s branch in Stratford.