Cape Breton company secures major contract to supply nursing homes with baked goods

November 18, 2010

Staff – The Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY — Classic Frozen Food Ltd. has secured a contract to exclusively supply cookies and muffins to all Shannex institutions in the province.

The deal to serve the nursing homes owned by Cape Breton businessman Joe Shannon is worth approximately $400,000 a year to the pastry company, which has occupied the office and production space of the now-defunct Classic Cheesecakes company in the Sydport Industrial Park for several months.

Classic Frozen Food president Wayne MacDonald said financial support from BCA Group and Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. were integral in launching the company.

ECBC provided non-repayable grants of $50,000 a year over two years to cover 75 per cent of the annual costs related to a marketing position to advertise the company’s products to potential clients.

The federal Crown corporation also reimbursed the company half of the $80,000 worth of capital improvements on the building.
BCA Group, a project organized by Cape Breton University’s Tompkins Institute, purchased the plant after Classic Cheesecakes went bankrupt in 2007, in hopes it could find a local buyer.

It sold the building and equipment to MacDonald and his two business partners, daughter Kelly MacDonald and Darren Dutchak.
MacDonald, a Cape Breton native who spent the last three decades in the food industry in Vancouver, said Classic Frozen Food Ltd. has been active for about a year but only started producing baked goods in September.

“We’re knocking on the doors of about five or six other major contracts right now. We feel we’ll have another one signed up next week actually,” he said.

MacDonald said his company is pursuing business with Co-op Atlantic, the IWK hospital in Halifax, as well as with school boards and federal prisons.

There are currently six full-time and three part-time employees.

Monica Mann, culinary manager at the Harbourstone and Celtic Court nursing facilities in Sydney, said residents at the Shannex-owned nursing homes are giving the different variety of cookies and muffins good reviews.

“They say they finally have a cookie that’s moist and soft that they can chew. They say it’s second-to-none, and we agree,” Mann said.

Both frozen and fresh cookies and muffins will be shipped to Shannex’s 15 nursing homes and three retirement living facilities in Nova Scotia.

The contract replaces one Shannex had with Voortman Cookies. Mann said Shannex will continue its relationship with Voortman, but on a much smaller scale.

“Voortman has very good cookies as well, but our motto is ‘home-like’ so we really try to cook from scratch.”

She said Voortman cookies will be taken off its menus, although a small supply will be available at the nursing homes as an “extra” treat.

Mann refused to say how much Voortman Cookies has lost out financially with Shannex signing its contract with Classic Frozen Foods.

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