In 1997 for a bake sale at her children’s school, Barbara Davenport made a batch of “Butter Nut Crunch” which quickly sold out with people requesting more. Response was so positive she decided to book tables at other events to market her product.
“My professional background is in food services and catering. When our young family moved from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Okotoks, Alberta, I was without a job and looking to continue my career in the food industry. With the great response to my specialties at the school bake sale, I decided to test market more products at the local farmers’ market. Once again I had great success. After receiving many awards for the product and great support from Alberta Agriculture and Alberta Food Processors, Davenport’s Tasty Sensations was well on its way,” said Davenport.
Davenport rents a local community kitchen to prepare her product. She produces most of the products herself, but with the growth of the business has hired part-time staff to help in the busy season of September to December. To keep production and capital expenses down, she has contracted out a few of her recipes to assist in production.
“My main goal is to produce in small batches to maintain quality and to ship the freshest product possible using the freshest ingredients. With 50 per cent of the business being wholesale this is a top priority. The products are shipped across Canada not only for wholesale; I also have convenient online shopping with the PayPal option. Shipping to U. S. and overseas is also available,” said Davenport.
Davenport makes a variety of products such as Cowboy Crunch, Rocky Road Bark, Milk Chocolate Ju Jubes, Roasted Soya Nuts which is a healthy gluten-free snack, and Santa Fe Mix to name a few.
“My No. 1 piece of advice to anyone starting a business is to have passion, love what you do and have fun doing it. My business has allowed me the opportunity to travel with my sisters. We have done craft and trade shows from Vancouver Island to Toronto, fancy food and candy shows in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. My husband Greg keeps meticulous records for the business and our three children help with production, packaging, shipping and direct sales,” said Davenport.
“If I could change one thing it would be the 80-20 rule. We do 80 per cent of our business in the last 20 per cent of the year. But that’s impossible to change,” said Davenport.
Davenport’s Tasty Sensations is a family affair based in the foothills of Alberta. They all pitch in for everything from perfecting recipes to buying ingredients to cooking and packaging the products. Check out the web-site at www.davenportsensations.com.
Joan Airey writes from Rivers, Manitoba