For four generations, the Seely Family has lived and worked on its mint farm near Clatskanie, Oregon, where they grow peppermint and spearmint for tea leaf and essential oil. As mint farmers, they use the same agricultural practices their family has used for generations.
Today, fourth-generation mint farmer, Mike Seely, and his wife Candy operate Seely Family Farm. They grow single-cut, premium-quality heirloom Black Mitcham Peppermint and Native Spearmint. The essential mint oils are steam distilled only once to retain the full flavor spectrum and bouquet of real Oregon mint.
As CEO of Seely Mint Farms, Mike Seely was busy solving day-to-day business issues. Expanding his markets had always been a goal, but Seely’s assumptions of exporting kept him from exploring Canada as an opportunity to for growth. Through working with OMEP and their partner, Rose Marshall at Grow Your Exports, Mike was encouraged to consider exporting as an option.
OMEP and Rose Marshall at Grow Your Exports worked closely with Mike, coaching him to take two parallel approaches to exporting. Mike leveraged his existing U.S. distributors to expand his line into their Canadian retail chains. Finally, Mike entered a Canadian in-bound trade show. At that tradeshow, he displayed his products and he met a distributor and chain store manager. At the show, both agreed to take his product line into their stores.
Seely Mint Farm’s revenue and profits have multiplied by expanding into Canada.Through the project, Mike Seely has successfully entered the Canadian market with one of his value-added consumer products. He is in over 30 stores across Canada and had already significantly increased product revenue in his first 6-month period. Results were as follows:
• Two new distributors
• 4 additional jobs, 24 retained jobs
• Added West and East Canada – new markets
• $170,000 increase in revenue
• Invested $30,000 in new equipment
• Significant potential for increased revenue
• Provides potential for added plant equipment
• Access to entire new population of end-users
• Increased diversity of store & consumer types (reduces risk)
• Decreased dependence on seasonal sales (reduces risk)
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