We had the pleasure of chatting with Lucky Fox Snack Co.'s General Manager, Kent, about the company's exciting beginning!
Tell us about Lucky Fox Snack Co.?
Lucky Fox Snack Co. is an artisan style PEI food company dedicated to producing handcrafted potato chips and gourmet caramel corn. Our snacks are made in small batches, inspired by a local culinary flare and named after a true Island symbol – the Fox. We are proud to use PEI russet potatoes and PEI non-GMO canola oil, and we intend on continuing to add more local ingredients in our recipes in the coming years.
Where did the idea for Lucky Fox come from?
The owners have been involved in food and tourism businesses all their working lives and had recently sold the Sandbox Pub and Eatery. Based on research on trends and looking at what we don’t do on PEI, they realized the obvious wasn’t being done - we grow over 90,000 acres of potatoes each year but there was no one on PEI making chips! After a trip to Chicago and St. Louis touring similar businesses, they came home with an idea, started working with Canada’s Smartest Kitchen and the rest is history.
What does a day at the Lucky Fox look like?
As this is the first season, every day is slightly different. If chips are being made, the first staff arrive at 7am and the first chips are being made by 8am and continue until 6pm. Popcorn usually starts between 7 and 8am and goes until 6pm as well. Packaging takes place in the afternoon and evening. The retail store opens daily from 10pm to 8pm so the goal is to have either production or packaging take place while the store is open.
When it comes to making food, what are you at Lucky Fox most passionate about?
Making great food. Our first production runs of chips were getting good reviews but not getting rave reviews. So, we made some tweaks to our process to make a chip unlike others out there. Now, we regularly get the comment, “those are the best chips I’ve ever tried” – that’s what gets our staff excited about going to work every day.
How long does it take to make a batch of chips and popcorn?
A batch of chips takes under 15 minutes and popcorn varies depending on the flavour – savoury popcorn (White Cheddar Dill or other flavours) take 5 minutes while caramel corn and Island Mix take almost 20.
Tell us about where your potatoes and canola oil come from/your relationship with these local farmers?
Our potatoes come from Keenan Farms in Souris and a large portion of canola for our oil is grown by Gerard Mol in Kinkora and pressed by Nature’s Crop in Kensington. Our relationship with these suppliers is developing as the business grows.
What makes Lucky Fox Snack Co. special?
The entire package makes them special – we use great products, a unique process, talented staff, great tasting flavourings developed by Canada’s Smartest Kitchen and are packaged in a craft-style package without any preservatives.
How's the initial reaction been from Islanders and visitors when they visit your store/taste you products?
Excellent. People want to support local products but when they taste the chips or Island Mix, they love the product and are often back for more.
What's your role at Lucky Fox? How did you become involved in this business?
I am the General Manager. I have known the owners for quite a while (one of them was my first manager when I washed dishes at Pizza Delight when I was 15) and they approached me in December, 2014 about joining the team. I loved the concept from the beginning and understood the opportunity so was excited to be part of the team.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs/business managers?
Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t focus on what went wrong until after the problem is solved – look forward, plan for the future and be flexible.
What advice were you given through the years that stuck with you?
If you do something special making your products, tell your customers. They want to be part of the process and love knowing how their food was made.
What's in store for Lucky Fox in the coming months?
We’re looking at a few ideas right now – a major grocery chain and ideas for the holiday season are the next on the list.
Where can folks buy your products?
At over 40 locations across PEI - http://luckyfox.ca/where-to-buy
Anything else you'd like to add?
A big thanks to the local companies that took a chance on us for carrying our products. The local network is strong on PEI and is one of the main reasons we have so much optimism about the future of Lucky Fox and PEI.