Turning Unexpected Corners-Maritime Marzipan

Busy weeks offer new business opportunities

2018 has quickly taken a productive turn for us. Slow is over. Currently, we are spending every weekend working away at our new business. And that’s on top of Mike dedicating his weekdays to Maritime as well, while I am at my day job. Don’t get me wrong. No complaints. We knew that that’s what life as entrepreneurs would entail. In fact, it’s pretty exciting times.

Let’s start with the biggest news first. We will be opening our own shop in the summer! It’ll be at The Landing at St. Peters Bay. We were on their waiting list since the fall of 2016 (we had a very different food business idea at the time), and got the offer to take on a spot a couple of months back. Everything happens for a reason I guess, especially taking chances, even if you don’t know what they’re for for exactly. There is lots of work still ahead of us, including plumbing, kitchen installation, interior design. But I cannot wait to turn the empty room into the whimsical shop I envision for our upcoming Maritime Marzipan headquarters.

We will be collaborating with our friend and neighbour, talented painter and carpenter Mark Czajkowski. His art will be for sale at the shop and will embellish its walls, and with the help of his craftsmanship we will turn driftwood and vintage pieces into our shop furniture. I said it’s exciting, didn’t I?!

The other thing that happened to us was this island and its community. You talk to one person who knows another, refers you as a friend, and a business connection is made. In addition to the informal networking, there are quite a lot of formal ways out there to connect. For example, we recently connected with the Food Island Partnership, talked to someone at PEI Connectors and became part of the Eastern PEI Tourism group.

At one of the tourism group’s workshops, we met the most incredible people-other local business owners that love the idea of our local, unique products as much as we do. We’re excited about potential collaborations and new customers receiving individual marzipan products for their shops, hotels, tours, etc. We are now also officially listed as artisan products on the tourism website, pointseastcoastaldrive.com.  Just a tiny bit proud 🙂

Other than talking to nice people, what’s all the busy-ness for the business about you might ask?  Well, being in the start-up phase of our company, we have to constantly invest. New equipment to improve our packaging, sourcing different types of chocolate to create a variety of treats, and a special mould for Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter- to name a just few  investments. Taking the next step often requires money. And we don’t have bottomless pockets. So we are working on overhauling our business plan, and filling out forms and applications for financial support. Luckily, there are provincial and federal programs for folks just like us. The Canada Summer Jobs program will hopefully help us fund the wage to employ a summer student at our shop. Innovation PEI is currently reviewing our application for support of our commercial kitchen rental, and we will be discussing marketing expenses next.

Crunching all those numbers and listing all the strengths and weaknesses of your business isn’t always fun, but certainly a necessary step in becoming a successful entrepreneur. Not only to get the support you are looking for but more importantly to understand your business and its profitability, opportunities and threats from the ground up. If you don’t know how much you have to sell to break even and then draw yourself a salary, what are you working for?

Well, we work for the fun of it and to earn a living. Aiming for happy faces all around. Wishing all the small businesses and local entrepreneurs much success. Leaving you with this quote that I recently heard, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

About Jessica Fritz

Jessica is "from away" in the truest sense of its meaning: her roots are in Germany. She immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 2010 and moved to PEI two summers ago. As a passionate home cook Jessica likes to explore different types of cuisines including her native one. "Thinking globally, buying locally" is her foodie mantra, and being able to grow veggies in her own backyard was one of the big drivers for her move to PEI.
Putting words on paper has always been a way to express herself. Hence, writing for Salty combines her love for food and the written word while at the same time discovering PEI's thriving culinary landscape.
And recently, Jessica and her husband launched their own food business: Maritime Marzipan offers hand-made traditional European almond treats inspired by Island living. She is blogging about her adventure here on saltyisland.com or you can find them at maritimemarzipan.com.

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