Have you ever been in Vancouver when a meat pie craving hits? Well, soon you can feed that craving because this November Peaked Pies will be opening up their second location in the West End.
For the past three years Kerri Jones and Alex Relf have been supplying Whistler with their delicious Australian meat pies. They’ve come a long way since the beginning of their journey, which started when they realized Canadians didn’t know what they were missing.
“Since arriving in Canada it struck me as odd that meat pies weren’t a ‘thing,’” Jones said. “Australians and Canadians share a lot of similarities in culture, and having a much colder climate I would have thought there to be meat pies available — nope! When discussion first started with my boyfriend and now business partner, Alex Relf, our thoughts were always big — let’s bring meat pies to Canada, starting with Whistler.”
Their business growth story is inspiring and offers proof that it’s possible to expand a Whistler business to the big city. So, what lessons did they learn?
Always think big
It’s important to set business goals and get out of your comfort zone, which in turn will help you grow. It’s imperative to push the limits and think big, because that is how your business will be taken to the next level.
“Everything we do, from cooking procedures to marketing and branding, we have kept it professional and replicable to a large scale,” Jones shared. “We have never thought of ourselves as just a small meat pie shop in Whistler — we’ve always had a larger vision and our actions mimic that.”
Networking is a must
The pie-producing pair knows that networking is an important part of business growth and they recognize that people like to do business with people they like, know and trust. These entrepreneurs make an effort to get out from behind their ovens and meet other members of the community.
“We are always trying to get our name out there, whether that be Kerri Jones, Alex Relf or Peaked Pies,” Jones said. “We attend networking events, have joined the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and reached out to industry leaders in both the community of Whistler but also Vancouver. We have found that successful people love to contribute to other’s success. Don’t be afraid to make a phone call and ask for a face-to-face meeting with someone who inspires you.”
Don’t fear risk
It’s natural to be scared of taking risks, but these two, like so many successful entrepreneurs know if you don’t take risks, you will never know your full potential.
“Don’t be afraid of risk! As an entrepreneur, and business owner, risk is inevitable! For us risking everything again is scary. We are installing a full kitchen in Vancouver, which comes with a much higher investment on our part. We are taking on debt far greater than starting our little store in Whistler, but, we have planned the second store as meticulously as we did the first. We can back ourselves because of thorough planning and mitigation of risk,” said Jones.
Kerri’s words of advice for those who want to expand their business from Whistler to Vancouver?
“Prepare for delays!” she said. “When we submitted our building permit application to the RMOW for our Whistler store it was approved within three weeks. The City of Vancouver took 17 weeks. We have been told that it is because there is so much development happening in Vancouver at the moment. Prepare yourself financially to be waiting these long periods of time.”
Make business easy — tune in to The Big Idea, a bi-weekly column from the Whistler Chamber of Commerce showcasing a Whistler business innovating in their sector.