In an interview with RSM Canada, Managing Director of Premier Brands and Waterbridge Confectionary, Brian Hicks, discussed the evolution of both Premier Brands and its pride and joy, primary trading brand Waterbridge.
After over 20 years of hard work, passion, expertise and determination Waterbridge has flourished into a 30-million Canadian dollar brand at retail working with Canadian retail giants like Walmart, Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs, Giant Tiger and more.
Waterbridge’s success came from a very simple idea
Which, according to Brian was “really nothing greatly insightful because we were just watching what happened in Europe.” At a time when the landscape was changing drastically for importers, Brian made an important decision, to invest in a packing facility that could satisfy the needs of Canadian consumers.
“What that did for us is it started to transform our business to be able to respond to these opportunities.” Brian notes, “When I look at this today, about 40% of our business is packing private label for the major Canadian retailers. We couldn’t have done that 20 years ago and to do it we’ve had to transform our business and make major investments in it.”
These major investments, principally allowing them to work on private label for Canadian retailers, has allowed Waterbridge room to grow and innovate, bringing fresh new ideas to the Canadian market. It allows for flexibility in the products selected, the types of packaging those products come in, and ultimately allows Waterbridge to shave unnecessary expense off the cost of goods.
It all started inside a shell of a building
Inside of this renovated building, you will now find a 15,000 square foot BRC Accredited food grade packing facility which, during its most recent yearly evaluation, received the highest possible grade available in Canada, an A++.
This continuously developing facility is fully equip with an airconditioned storage area holding 7,000 pallets. Its packing machinery allows Waterbridge and private brand products to be packaged on site in Pickering, Ontario.
But that’s not all…
These investments aren’t the only transformations Waterbridge has seen in the last few years. According to Brian one of the biggest realizations of late turned into a marketing overhaul for the Waterbridge brand.
“It just seemed to us sitting around the table in these focus groups that ultimately the answer was very simple, Waterbridge was Canadian but we weren’t telling anyone that we were Canadian. So we had to go back to the ranch we sat down with our marketing team and we came up with a new plan and one of the clear messages in that is that Waterbridge is a Canadian company, we’re based in Pickering Ontario and what we do is we use our passion and our expertise in confectionary, chocolate and cookies to bring the Canadian consumer the best world wide products that are available.”
You can watch Brian’s full interview with RSM Canada here, where he discusses what he believes to be the contributing factors to the success of both Premier Brands and Waterbridge. Contact here for more details.