Join Yukon Entrepreneur Tarek Bos-Jabbar, Chief Operating Officer of ColdAcre Food Systems, as we catch up on what has changed since we last connected in the summer of 2020 near the start of the pandemic.
(1:40) Tarek shares their first memory of the pandemic. They ordered pizza and when it was dropped off the delivery worker dropped it off and backed away. Their next moment was feeling worried about what might happen in the economy, more specifically in housing. They had just purchased a house the week before so had reason to be concerned.
(3:09) Tarek discusses what they’ve learned about their business over the last couple years. Something that has stood out to them the most, even at the start of the pandemic is how supportive of local businesses Yukoners are. They also share how exciting it is to see how much locally produced food in on shelves in grocery stores now versus several years ago.
(5:44) Looking at their business model, Tarek elaborates on how at ColdAcre, they are focused on both growing and selling food at a regional level, supplying the Yukon, and then on their agricultural equipment sales side of things, they are working more at a national level.
(7:32) From a leadership perspective, Tarek has learned during the pandemic how powerful just asking people what they want has been. Whether it is from clients or learning how to keep staff, people are usually really willing to answer questions so having direct conversations is a big one for leadership.
(8:59) Tarek shares that transferring to a delivery service is an adaptation they are proud of ColdAcre managing to do. They used to have specific pick-up locations but quickly realized during the pandemic that they needed to figure out how to get their produce directly to customers. Since then, they have also expanded to being able to distribute other local businesses’ products which has helped support the local movement even further.
(12:51) Losing a lot of restaurants as clients due to the pandemic was one of the challenging parts of the public health measures we have seen in the Yukon. Tarek shares that they didn’t find the health measure requirements hard to implement due to the nature and layout of their business.
(14:28) Going forward, Tarek sees opportunity in how people are really seeing the value of being able to produce food locally. With the pandemic, things such as BC flooding and our erratic climate, people are seeing that adding an extra layer of diversity in where products can come from as something that should be supported.
(18:34) To better position themselves for the years ahead, Tarek has been working hard to develop the business side of their skill set as they have typically been more in a technical role.
(19:18) Looking at the Yukon economy as it emerges from this pandemic, Tarek hopes to see the Yukon become more self-reliant and focused on having a lot more newer businesses in the private industry. They would love to see the Yukon get better at producing things locally which will ensure the creation of jobs and money staying in the community.
(20:06) Tarek’s advice for emerging entrepreneurs. Remember the ups when you’re down and remember the downs when you’re up. Keep building the momentum, keep pushing every day, and read lots of books as there are many incredible books about entrepreneurship out there.
(21:26) Working at ColdAcre and the many challenges that they’ve worked through over the past three and a half years since they created the company have been very formative for Tarek. They have developed a lot, but it is hard to say what is related to the pandemic or other factors, but they acknowledge their worldview has shifted over that time.
(22:13) What wellness practices keep Tarek grounded? Doing a long stretching session and meditating after they wake up every morning has helped them be a lot less stressed and a lot happier.
Thank you for watching!
To learn more about Tarek and ColdAcre Food Systems, visit their website at:
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