Today, we celebrate Canada Day in the birthplace of the Confederation. P.E.I. is also the birthplace for many new and creative ideas from our local business people.
The first in this series comes from Victoria-by-the-Sea.
I have been a fan of The Landmark Café since its opening 28 years ago. It is a true “family love story.” Eugene Sauvé, the principal, was a cook in Montreal, who came to Prince Edward Island, fell in love with the place and stayed.
His whole family is engaged in the business including Karen, Rachel and Oliver. They maintain a team culture where people enjoy working. Staff includes Julia, Ben, Doug, Keitha and JR, who has been with them for 19 years.
Oliver started working as a dishwasher and over the years, became a key member of the business. He listened when people would remark that their meal was so great they wanted to “lick their plate.” He saw that as an opportunity, so he and his business partner, Joshua Lindsay, created the Forktula — the world’s first “fork accessory.”
The Forktula is exactly as it sounds: It’s a spatula for your fork. This tiny gadget slides onto the prongs of any standard fork and allows you to scrape, swipe, wipe, and squeegee your plate clean. It enables you to make the most out of every meal from start to finish. It is FDA approved, as well as food and dishwasher safe. Better still, it can be used by either right or left-handed people.
Oliver noted that diners were so intrigued with the Forktula that it became a conversation piece, keeping people off their cellphone and engaged in conversation with each other. He now offers it to other restaurants that can use the Forktula for in-house marketing by putting their own logo on it.
Before the Forktula, Oliver showed entrepreneurial qualities even as a child. At the age of four, he would go door-to-door selling cut flowers, and miniature wood-folk, or would cut grass and stack winter wood for neighbors. Later in life, after traveling to more than 50 countries around the world, he was inspired to get into the photography business.
Because of these great experiences, he now plans to take groups of “at risk” teenagers on adventure hiking tours to Spain to help them develop self-confidence and coping skills for the future.
He started working at the Landmark when he was 13 years old. He maintains the attitude that if something needs to be done, he’ll do it. He is a worker who never says, “Not my job.” He was a Municipal Councilor, is currently a volunteer firefighter, and has completed the sport and leisure management program at Holland College.
There is never a dull moment around Oliver Sauvé.
My question this week for managers:
Are you inspiring an “intrapreneurial” spirit in your employees so they will create and innovate fresh ideas into your business?