Although the road to success has been bumpy for Shawn Scott, his dream to expand his jerky product business beyond Sudbury has come true.
With the support of national retailers like Waypoint Convenience and its Localicious program, and strong Sudbury consumer demand to buy local amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Local Jerky Plus quickly outgrew its 1,000 square-foot meat plant on the Kingsway established in March.
Now, Scott is setting his sights on an international market and he couldn’t have done it without the support he received from his friends, family and community.
“Our partnership with Waypoint was an absolute success. It was cool to see our numbers beating out multi-billion-dollar companies. I am pretty proud of that,” he said.
“It’s really nice to see big franchises like Waypoint bringing in these local brands and helping entrepreneurs like myself get their products on store shelves.”
Launched in the fall of 2019 just months before the pandemic hit Ontario, Scott’s Sudbury-made Local Jerky Plus products soon became popular with area residents.
The business started in Scott’s home, but with an increase in popularity, came some licensing issues with the local health unit and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.
Undeterred, Scott navigated the red tape, got approved by the province to open a licensed meat plant facility, and hired a team of five staff.
“The crazy thing is that we outgrew that facility in probably the first two months of operation. Now, we are looking to go federal and get licensed with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. That will allow us to take the business worldwide,” he said.
“To see the substantial growth of the business just in Sudbury and surrounding areas is incredible. We’re ready to take this business to the next level.”
One of Scott’s biggest fans is Waypoint Convenience agent Bill Chimchak.
“When Shawn was just getting started, I was on the lookout for a local meat snack supplier for our Localicious section in our stores. Local Jerky Plus was a perfect fit, and now it’s a top seller. Waypoint customers love it,” he said.
“Best of all, Shawn and I have since become good friends. His attention to the food-making craft, infectious energy, and optimism, and unceasing community commitment is nothing short of amazing.”
Chimchak is the franchisee of two local Mobil stores located on Lorne street at Chris’s Your Independent Grocer and on Lasalle Boulevard at the Superstore, which are part of a group of major brands owned by the fuel supply and gas and convenience retailer Greenergy.
He partners with multiple local businesses as part of the Localicious program, including brands like Nickel City Cheese, Northwest Fudge Factory, and Maple Acres Farm.
Waypoint’s Localicious program has proven to help these businesses increase their sales by expanding their customer base and promoting their brands outside of their home communities.
“Without Bill’s encouragement and the community commitment of companies like Waypoint to buy and promote local, we wouldn’t enjoy the success we’ve achieved,” said Scott.
“Despite our challenges, we have risen to the occasion and this business is definitely here to stay.”
Aside from his gig as a local entrepreneur, Scott also works as a volunteer firefighter, and he has a passion for local causes including Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer and the Society for the Protection of Animals.
He plans to host an invitational Jerkyfest event in Sudbury next year, and he hopes to hire unemployed local people registered with Ontario Works as he expands his business.
“I love getting involved and giving back to the community. That’s what my parents always did, and now it’s a passion of mine,” he said.
“I really want to say thank you to my family, especially my children, who have been my number one supporter over the past year as we got this business off the ground.”
Waypoint Convenience plans to grow in the region at Mobil and Mr. Gas locations in communities like Val Caron, Sturgeon Falls, and North Bay.
Chimchak said he is always on the lookout for potential partnerships with local businesses. Anyone interested in the Localicious program – especially if they make butter tarts – can get in touch with Chimchak directly to discuss the opportunity.
The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.
Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star