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Feature on Van Dyk's Health Juice Products Ltd.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nova Scotia Business Inc. along with its partners and sponsors presented The Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards, an annual celebration and recognition of excellence in exporting across Nova Scotia. Van Dyk's Health Juice Products Ltd. was one of nine companies that were celebrated at the 2015 provincial EAA awards ceremony on May 21, 2015, in Halifax.  NSBI spoke with Randy MacDonald, Business Manager at Van Dyk’s, to learn more about the company’s success.

Q: Can you share your company’s history in Nova Scotia?

A: It goes back to the early 1950s when Case and Riek Van Dyk emigrated from Holland and set up a home in Caledonia. In the mid to late 60s they began developing wild blueberry fields. Case was aware of the health research and health benefits starting to be developed and associated with wild blueberries. I also give him huge credit for being ahead of the curve on seeing the move with consumers towards healthy food choices. Van Dyk’s Health Juice Products Ltd. was launched in 2000.

Q: What does being recognized by your local business community mean to your business and your employees?

A: It’s a great honour to be recognized by your business peers in your community.  It’s important for Nova Scotia companies to be recognized and also to interact with one another and to share ideas and challenges. Case and Riek pride themselves on having a quality business and a quality product and treating employees well, so the recognition is a peer acknowledgement of the efforts and work that goes into that.

Q: What factors have contributed to your success?

A: One of Case’s mantras for the entire time I’ve known him is it’s always, quality, quality, quality. And we had the right product at the right place, at the right time, and we were fortunate to get a listing with Sobeys Atlantic and Loblaws.

Q: What do you consider will be key to your success going forward?

A: Going forward we will focus on international export. That’s where the real growth opportunity is for us, and we are currently exporting to South Korea, Taiwan, China and Japan. We’re also looking at some new technologies for some other related products that we want to pursue.

Q: What was your biggest learning or a-ha moment?

A: The value of mentorship and industry expertise. During our first foray into the Ontario marketplace, we were lucky enough for a quasi-retired, food industry expert to discover our product while on vacation in Nova Scotia. He, like Case, had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and took our product under his wing. He shared with us a lot of different ways to be successful in the retail marketplace.  It was a valuable relationship.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to new exporters, or companies considering exporting from Nova Scotia?

A: Know your product’s strengths.  Know your costs. Seek out opportunities. Be persistent and patient – and always keep an eye on your competition and where they are in the marketplace.

Q: And finally, what’s the best thing about being a Nova Scotia exporter?

A: Canadian and Nova Scotia products are perceived, rightly so, as being quality products.  People love to hear about Nova Scotia and what it’s like.  It’s wonderful to come from a small province, small community, and still be able to compete on the world’s stage.

Van Dyk's Health Juice Products Ltd. is located in Queen’s County, Nova Scotia.
Van Dyk’s was awarded the Export Award at the 2014 Lunenburg Queens Business Excellence Awards, presented by South Queens Chamber of Commerce for the Liverpool and area, Queens County, Nova Scotia.

If you are interested in becoming an exporter, the following resources can get you started:

The Small Business Development Program helps eligible businesses participate in a global supply chain, become first-time exporters, remove barriers to exporting, or increase exports by getting customized expertise.

The Export Growth Program helps eligible businesses with projects to overcome export-growth barriers, such as travel to market and helping with costs for events such as trade shows and conferences.

Stay up-to-date with our e-newsletter that includes upcoming trade development initiatives that you can participate in and highlights trade activity in Nova Scotia and beyond.