Jessica Schlager of Tevan Enterprises Inc. with just a small selection of candies at sweet treats at her warehouse in Errington. — Lauren Collins photo

Parksville newcomers stumble into sweet business idea

‘Rolling candy store’ helps to support mom and pop stores

Jeff Smith and his wife Jessica Schlager were travelling back to their home in Calgary from a visit to Parksville about a year ago when the two began talking about moving to the Island — and potentially running a business.

“It started out as ‘What if we came to work here? What are we going to do if we came out here to work? Well, what if we worked for ourselves?’” Smith said. “That got us thinking, what if we did buy a small company out here? Could we do it? What would we want to do?”

The two, Smith said, eventually found a commercial listing on ReMax for Tevan Enterprises Inc., a warehouse and delivery service located in Parksville that specializes in confectionary products as well as some specialty grocery items.

“Nothing really seemed to fit us or (fit) financially, and then we came across this one,” Smith said of Tevan, adding that selling candy seemed like “a fun business to get into.”

Tevan Enterprises, Schlager said, has been around for about 25 years.

“The previous owner had built it up from nothing, and he decided it was time to get out as it was getting close to retirement for him.”

Smith and Schlager, and their two-year-old daughter, Maria, moved into their new home in Parksville Sept. 1. By Sept. 23, Schlager and Smith took over the company.

They had no experience in wholesaling, said Schlager, who has a background in management for the Alberta Energy Regulator.

“It was a fairly vertical learning curve; it still is,” she said.

But the previous owner and his wife, she said, have been very helpful.

“They’ve been great with the transition and getting to know customers, and getting to know vendors,” Schlager said. “Every once in a while (we ask), ‘Where do you get these?’ or ‘Who do you buy this from?’ He’s always, always, always got time for us.”

Fortunately, Schlager said, the family had been visiting her parents on the Island for the past 14 years, so they were familiar with Parksville.

“It’s better than going somewhere completely blind and knowing nothing and no one,” she said.

Since taking over the company last year, Smith said, they had to learn about regions other than Parksville because of their distribution area. Tevan Enterprises services the Island from Shawnigan Lake to Courtenay and Comox, and west to Tofino, said Smith, who had a background working in the transportation field with licensing, compliance and safety training.

“I had to learn all the area in a short amount of time,” he said. “Now I know every back road. If there’s construction, I know how to get around it.”

Despite the learning curve, and being a business owner for the first time, Schlager said she really likes working and living in the region.

She said one of the things she’s always liked about the community was the shop local mentality.

I think that’s where this company has been successful. Because we are quite small, there is some big competition,” she said of the companies that supply large chain stores. “That’s certainly not who we are, but we do supply the small mom and pops, the little convenience stores, those sorts of things where we don’t have minimum orders.

“Our delivery truck is basically a rolling candy store. Everything we sell is on our truck, so if you’re just a little guy who says, ‘I might only need a couple of bags of bulk candy this week,’ we could sell that to you.”

For more information on Tevan Enterprises Inc., visit www.tevan.ca, or contact 250-951-8027 or orders@tevan.ca.

Just Posted

Motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash west of Whiskey Creek

Witnesses say three vehicles involved in collision; man in 70s confirmed dead

More units added to Parksville’s Corfield site

Supportive housing project progressing rapidly

Unique type of rock show at Parksville beach

WATCH: Rock art from youngsters and adults alike on display

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Illegal cannabis club in Port Alberni ticketed again

RCMP seize cannabis, issue fine for second time in five months

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

Dump truck driver hurt after highway crash on Vancouver Island

One man airlifted to hospital after collision between dump truck and pickup Friday in Ladysmith

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Most Read