THE PIVOT: Shivani’s Kitchen eyeing Dragon’s Den
Sauce. spice company breaking into U.S.
'An entrepreneur who was struggling to feed her family last year is now selling her products in Sobeys and Foodland stores throughout the Maritimes and is slated to audition next week for Dragon's Den.
Shivani Dhamija, owner of Shivani's Kitchen in Newport Station, is hoping to capture the attention of "dragon" Jim Treliving, the owner of Boston Pizza, and land an investment deal.
"I don't just want to stick to Canada,"says Dhamija.
"I want to go global...My target is a particular investor who could take this to another level."
Shivani's Kitchen sells spices and sauces from its 1,400 square foot plant inside the Station Food Hub, where Dhamija employs three full time workers in the kitchen and another three for marketing, bookkeeping and sales.
The kitchen takes up most of the space, with about 400 square feet for offices.
In the United States, the company's spice blends are sold in two Maine outlets the Tiller & Rye grocer in Brewer and the Natural Living Center in Bangor. Shivani's Kitchen spices can also be ordered through the company's website and Amazon.
We're bringing in more people and making it a 24-7 operation, starting probably this fall, says Dhamija.
There are plans to expand right across North America but that can't happen in a 1,000 square foot kitchen. I'll be looking for a 4,000 square foot space in the next one to two years."
Growth like that would require adding another 20 people to the payroll and can only happen if Shivani's Kitchen can grow demand for its products. Dhamija is confident that's going to happen. She says there are distribution deals soon to be announced for her products to be carried in more grocers throughout Canada and the United States."
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- The Players: Shivani Dhamija owns Shivani's Kitchen, a maker of fresh, salt-free Indian spice blends and sauces in Newport Station, near Windsor.
- The Problem: When COVID-19 killed the cruise ship season, Dhamija shut down Shivani's Kitchen restaurant at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market in August.
- The Pivot: A month after closing the restaurant, Dhamija opened a food processing plant in Newport Station and now sells products through Sobeys and Food land in the Maritimes and United States. Within the next two years, she is planning to quadruple the size of her kitchen, operate 24-7 and take her products to the world.