TASTE OF SUC­CESS

Char­lot­te­town en­trepreneur gets his prod­uct on store shelves across At­lantic Canada

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE STE­WART dave.ste­wart@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/DveSte­wart

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.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

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.

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