Meet the founders of
NEALE’S SWEET N’ NICE ICE CREAM BUSINESS Neale’s Sweet N’ Nice Ice Cream FOUNDERS Andrew McBarnett, Rosemarie Wilson and Stafford Attzs Toronto, Ont., with products sold in several provinces across Canada LOCATION PRODUCTS Trinidad-inspired ice cream flavours using 100 per cent Canadian dairy *Responses from Andrew McBarnett Q: Tell me a bit about yourself and your dairy background. A: We started Neale’s Sweet N’ Nice in Canada to honour Charles Neale, our grandfather, from Trinidad where he started making his own ice cream in the 1940s and selling it by bicycle to put his 12 kids through school. While he blended in local flavours from the island into his ice cream, we wanted to highlight our use of Canadian dairy in our products, mixed with tropical Caribbean fruit flavours to honour not only our Trinidadian roots but also our new home in Canada. Q: Tell me a bit about how your operation came together. A: One of Charles’ daughters (and subsequent co-founder of Neale’s Sweet N’ Nice Ice Cream) had learned the ice cream trade and his recipes before he died in the 1980s. After moving to Canada with her family, she continued the tradition of making ice cream for friends and at family gatherings. It always reminded us of the flavours back home, so in 2013, we decided to officially create Neale’s Sweet N’ Nice Ice Cream in Canada, using 100 per cent local dairy blended with tropical fruit. We
NEALE’S SWEET N’ NICE makes Trinidad-inspired ice cream flavours using 100 per cent Canadian dairy. 16
AUGUST 2021 | MILKPRODUCER
launched with two flavours: coconut and mango. It wasn’t until 2019 that we got a big break with Sobeys, which listed our product in its Ontario stores. Following this, we have been expanding across Canada through independent and major grocers, staying true to honouring local dairy with tropical flavours. Q: How has your operation evolved over the years? A: Over the past several years, we’ve grown our presence from smaller independent stores to being listed at a few major grocers, including Sobeys/ Foodland in 2018, FreshCo in 2019, No Frills and Metro in 2020 and Federated Co-operatives and Loblaws stores, including Your Independent, Provigo and Zehrs in 2021. We can be found regionally in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Q: Who is involved in the business and what are their roles? A: We are a family-owned and operated business. I, along with Rosemarie Wilson and Stafford Attzs, co-founded the business. I’m the chief executive officer, responsible for vision, strategy, execution and investor relations. Rosemarie is the vice-president of product, overseeing product, recipes, manufacturing and inventory, and Stafford is an adviser. On our team, we also have: • Ted Bluesteen, chief operating officer, overseeing sales and vendor operations; • Liz Leason, manager of account management, overseeing grocery accounts and in-store merchandising; • Mike Bailey, director of sales; • Wes Hall, chairman, investor and adviser. Q: What are some of your accomplishments
ANDREW MCBARNETT is the chief executive officer of Neale’s Sweet N’ Nice Ice Cream.
with the business? A: We’re proud of launching at Sobeys in 2018, followed by our expansion beyond Ontario into B.C. and Quebec. We also launched a successful pop-up store last summer—the first of more to come. Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced over the years? A: We faced challenges raising capital via standard banks and were mostly self funded until Wes Hall came on board. Over the last year, COVID-19 presented many challenges—from navigating a broken supply chain to delays in rollout to vendors. We have learned a lot about the flexibility required in this business and adjusting plans. All that said, we have also focused a lot on public relations and digital marketing to engage with new audiences and create brand awareness. Q: What are your goals for the future of the business? A: Our goals are to continue to grow in Canada across all provinces, enter the United States and United Kingdom markets and relaunch in Trinidad (Caribbean market).
IN 2013, Neale’s Sweet N’ Nice launched in Canada with two flavours: coconut and mango. WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA