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Dor-Bel International Fine Foods – An Entrepreneur's Story

2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the Business Development Department of Momentum. To celebrate, we collected 20 stories about past participants who have thriving businesses.  Written by Marnie Schaetti of RaiDo Dynamics, these stories reflect the diversity, innovation and hard work of the inspiring participants who come through our doors every year to take one of our many programs.
This is one of those stories.

Entrepreneur Name: Brian Eves
Programs: Self Employment Program & Micro Business Loans
Program Year: 2002
Business Description: Specialty gourmet, flash-frozen, vacuumpacked, portion-controlled seafood, meats and prepared items.
Website: www.dorbelfoods.com

Over the past 20 years, Brian Eves has gone from being a top national salesman to declaring bankruptcy to being the owner of an innovative, successful and expanding food distribution business.
He had been a very successful door-to-door salesman but after six years he was ready to start his own enterprise. In 1996, he and three partners set up Dor-Bel International Fine Foods—the name designed to remind people that the company rang their doorbells to deliver their orders. When that partnership broke up three years later, Brian decided to move ahead with the
company and make it into a family business.
Without formal business training, however, Brian was unsure how to proceed. Because the partners’ company had gone bankrupt, banks wouldn’t help him. Momentum provided solutions in the form of business training and a micro loan. Most importantly, Momentum believed in him.
In 2001, Brian incorporated his business and began building a customer base for his five star, flash frozen meats and seafood, which he sold exclusively at farmers’ markets. His daughter Chantal, meanwhile, persuaded him to partner with Oceanwise and other environmentally conscious organizations. The foods he sells now are ethically, sustainably raised or harvested.
The company’s customer base continued to grow but there was a problem. Most of his revenue came from seasonal farmers’ markets, meaning good income in the summer but a big drop in the winter. Something needed to change. The solution came when Brian and long-time friend and business associate Doug Reeve realized that Arizona, where many local customers spend their winters, has a market season exactly the opposite of Calgary’s—and four times the population. It was a perfect solution and Brian is now setting up shop in Phoenix, searching out US producers that share his company philosophy.
Brian enjoys the business, working with his wife Laneeh and family, and selling food that is good both for the buyer and the planet.

Learn more about Momentum’s Business Development programs.

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