Local entrepreneur pitching his famous pita chips and salad dressings to Dragons' Den
A local entrepreneur is pitching his food to the Dragons.
Ameen Fadel, founder and President of Cedar Valley Selections, which was founded in Belle River, will be pitching his famous pita chips and salad dressings to Dragons' Den on Thursday night.
Speaking on AM800's The Shift, Fadel explains how he and his mother began making the family-focused Lebanese chips and dressings in their home, before branching out to local grocery stores, and then branching out once more to larger markets such as Costco, Sobey's and Loblaws.
He began the business when he received a $3,000 grant from Belle River High School when he was just 16 years old.
They applied to Dragons' Den last year but wasn't invited on the show, this year they applied with a focus on the pita chips specifically and made it on the show.
While the episode was filmed in May, Fadel and his mother were told only weeks ago that their business was selected to air on the show on November 2.
Fadel says a local deli shop owner gave him a shot.
"One day I just walked into the local deli shop by my high school, Wayne White's Meats and Deli, and I spoke to Wayne and I said 'I'm a local student here, I just started this business and I'm wondering if you'd be interested in carrying the product?'. And he gave me a shot, I was super nervous, but he gave me a shot and brought the product in. And then once he reordered I knew okay, this is going to sell at stores."
He says it was a dream come true to pitch to the Dragons'.
"They have about 3,000 applicants. They only film 160 businesses, but only 80 make it onto the show. So even though we filmed back in May, there was no guarantee that we were going to make it onto the show. So they had just confirmed with us a couple of weeks ago that we're actually going to be airing, and our business was one that was selected. So we're super humbled, and grateful by that. That was a pretty surreal experience, and pitching to the Dragons' was a dream come true."
Fadel says being on the show is great exposure.
"Really we're anticipating a big uptake in sales, and some new customers to come on board after the show airs. So we kind of told all of our retailers make sure that you're fully stocked. And we've had a record month for orders this month, so it's been pretty awesome. It's really great exposure, but at the end of the day if you can get a deal, that's better than anything because every business can use a lot of cash, especially in today's day-and-age."
Cedar Valley Selections is now sold across 1,300 retailers across Canada.
A viewing party will be held at Belle River High School, located at 333 South Street in Belle River, on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m.
As of right now about 200 people are expected to attend.
Those looking to join the watch party are asked to RSVP by clicking here.