In celebration of Ontario's Local Food Week, June 2-6, 2014, we are profiling another of our amazingly successful clients. To pick up some local Ontario popcorn, visit them online.
Award Winning Popping Corn
“Pop-a Cob”. One of the innovative products Ontario Popping Corn Co. of Walsingham Ontario has developed to set themselves apart. As the largest popping corn growers in Canada, Ontario Popping Corn grows numerous varieties of corn for specialty markets in North America and around the world.
Ontario Popping Corn Co. owners, Blair & Livia Townsend, understand the power of popcorn. Recently, one of their customers related an experience that proves the point. Their customer was involved in a trade show where the year before they had used their Uncle Bob's Popping Corn to draw people to their display. They had over 2000 people come to their booth and fill out ballots; the smell alone brought the crowds. The following year, they did not use the popcorn and had only 49 people come through. Popcorn draws people.
This is why Blair and Livia are in the business. Although not an easy market to break into, they would not consider doing anything else. While working in tobacco farming, Blair’s father and a couple partners decided they wanted to try something new. Although it was more of a challenge to grow popping corn, they made the leap and have not looked back. When Blair took over the business in 1988, he did not think twice about continuing in these footsteps. “Growing tobacco was fun, but the marketing and everything else with tobacco is fairly straightforward and easy. I wanted something more challenging and interesting,” says Blair. “In growing popping corn, it is exciting the connections you can make and the networking you get to do with so many interesting people. You can pick up potential customers all over the place.”
Another aspect of growing corn that Blair really enjoys is the research and development. He is currently working with a Professor from Michigan as well as with the University of Guelph on innovative ideas for creating hardier, improved plants. Blair is always looking for ways to improve his “field” and tapping into potential markets. In fact, in 2011, Ontario Popping Corn Co. was awarded the Premier’s Ag Food Innovation Excellence Award in recognition of all his forward thinking.
It is this same sort of forward and strategic thinking that make them appreciate Bossy Nagy Group Chartered Professional Accountants. It was an easy choice to involve BNG as their company accountant, as it was a referral from their previous accountant. However, it has been a simple decision to stay with BNG throughout the years. Before Blair and Livia actually hired BNG, Steve Nagy came out to meet with them. Since then, they have consistently impressed with Steve’s knowledge. “Steve is sharp and always knows what is going on; he always knows the latest updates. Some laws and programs are so cloudy and foggy, but he can always explain it,” says Livia, “and if he doesn’t have an answer, he will find it.”
As their bookkeeper, Livia appreciates the knowledge and expertise BNG shares with them as they grow their business. The team at BNG is keen on keeping educated in the newest government changes that directly affect their clients to know best how to help their clients build a better business. “In agriculture, there are many deductions and programs to help us. But unless you know someone who understands these and how to use that information to the advantage of the client you often miss out. At BNG, they know how to set things up to our benefit,” says Livia.
The key thing when it comes to the financial side of business is that most people do not understand the language. It is important to have someone who can communicate in layman’s terms and explain things clearly to ensure things go smoothly and business keeps moving ahead…or popping ahead.
Pickard’s Peanuts sells Uncle Bob’s in all their stores. Other area retailers who carry their products include The Apple Place in Simcoe; Kernal Peanuts; The Cider Keg; Wiggans and Cashmere and Cobwebs in Port Rowan; the Langton Foodland; Coward’s Pharmacy in Tillsonburg.