519-814-7570

6 Wellington St.
Stratford, ON
N5A 2L2

Success Stories

The Pulp

The Pulp

10 Downie Street, Stratford
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(519) 305-7857
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The Pulp

Who?

Meet Treena Hough. On May 25th of this year, she and her husband James opened The Pulp – a 20-seat juice and smoothie bar in downtown Stratford. Treena is also on maternity leave from her job at the Stratford Perth Centre for Business where she plans to return to work in 2018.

 Wait … Her job, a new business and a new baby? “I like to be busy,” she laughs. “And it’s been a dream of ours to have our own business, building something of our own.”

 

The Big Idea

Stratford is ready for healthy grab-and-go alternatives to sit-down meals and sugary snacks. “The idea first came last summer [2016] after going to a Booster Juice,” says Treena. “We thought, ‘Why doesn’t Stratford have one of these?’ So we decided to create our own with added lunch, breakfast and snack options.”

 The Houghs ramped up a social media and video campaign, and even got the business name by creating a SurveyMonkey online questionnaire. “We asked people to pick from our three favourite names and at the last minute added a random fourth name just to round it out,” she says. “And to our surprise that was the winner!”

 

Location, Location, Location

Located at the top of Downie Street, in just about the highest foot-traffic area in Stratford, the old maxim, ‘Location, location, location’ holds in this market. “We saw two other spaces but for foot traffic, visibility and size this was our ideal,” says Hough. “We had to buy some new and used equipment but we re-purposed the chairs and tables, counter and displays and lighting. The biggest investments were a new fridge and freezer, four heavy-duty blenders and the best of four popular juicer models.”

 The Pulp is starting with three kinds of fresh juice cocktails (like James’ favourite “Spicy Apple” with apple, lemon and jalapeno pepper) and three blended smoothies (such as “Green Goddess” with kale, pineapple, kefir and chia seeds). Plus three brown rice bowls, three quinoa bowls and salads for more substantial lunches. Later they’ll expand into health tonics, coffees, ice cream alternatives.

 

Starting Up

Treena and James worked hard on their business plan. “Though I work at the Centre for Business, I found it was still hard work to get our research, census data, cashflow planning, surveying the target market, finding good examples from similar businesses in larger cities, and so on,” says Treena. “It was the market feedback that prompted us to expand beyond juices and smoothies.”

 The Pulp will create five new full- and part-time jobs, “and we’ll do pop-ups in different locations in collaboration with local farm producers and complementary businesses.”

 

Perth Community Futures

After being turned down by banks, “which I pretty much expected,” she says, “we got a very positive reception at Perth Community Futures, and lots of help with both refining the business plan and arranging financing.” That process took three months and the Houghs are up and running for the Stratford tourism season.

 

Takeaways

“It took more money than we expected,” says Treena. “And we found it very helpful to have supportive people around us, including others starting their own new businesses.”