“Being able to contribute to society, and have a positive impact on our community is a great opportunity to have as a business owner here in Nova Scotia.”
They say that April showers bring May flowers, which certainly was true in Nova Scotia this year!
Halifax Seed Company Inc. is Canada's oldest continuously operating family owned seed company (established in 1866- a year before confederation)! Throughout its considerable history, Halifax Seed has evolved to be a market leader in the horticultural and agriculture industry in Atlantic Canada for both wholesale customers as well as Home Gardeners.
We recently spoke with Emily Tregunno, Marketing Manager and descendant of this family run business, about her family’s experience in growing a company in Nova Scotia.
Why is it important to you to live and work in Nova Scotia? For me and my family, living and working in Nova Scotia provides a great lifestyle. Halifax Seed was established in 1866, and was purchased by my Great Grandfather in 1925. Being fourth generation holds me here, but it’s a great industry to be in. The people we get to work with every single day, our customers, employees and suppliers, are awesome. It can be slower pace in Nova Scotia, but everything we need is here. I’ve certainly travelled many places, but after any sort of extended time away, I start to miss the ocean.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for local business owners or people who want to start their own business? In addition to being able to have the kind of lifestyle we want, there is also a great opportunity to provide a good lifestyle for others. It’s a big responsibility to own a company, especially when you employ people. We have to ensure we pick strong products so our business does well and our employees continue to flourish. We are essentially responsible for over 60 people and their families. Being able to contribute to society, and have a positive impact on our community is a great opportunity to have as a business owner here in Nova Scotia.
What is one thing you want everyone to know about your business? We sell our seed packets online and in our two store locations, but we also have a seed rack in almost every single community in Atlantic Canada. At the end of each season, we go around and pick up all of the seeds packets. To ensure product freshness each season, we don’t put them back into our inventory, instead we pack them up and send them to a community in Africa. We have worked with a variety of different groups in multiple countries. These groups show the communities how to save their seeds, and teach them what to do so they can provide their own food source. This program was started by my Grandfather who received a request one year to donate seeds. He knew we could fulfill that request, and it was really rewarding for him to know that we could have a positive (and sustainable) impact on another community.
In speaking with Emily, I could certainly hear the pride she has for this company and the important role it plays with her family. Winning the Family Enterprise of the Year Award by the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise in 2012, Halifax Seed Company is constantly evaluating new products to determine their suitability for the Atlantic Region and to meet the needs of their customers.