Island Abbey Foods among Atlantic Canada's 2012 fastest growing companies

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Next on the Honibe product list for John Rowe, president of Island Abbey Foods Ltd., are pure honey sprinkles and suckers. His Charlottetown-based companys Honey Drops and Honey Delights have already fast-tracked their way into North American markets since the first was launched in 2008. GUARDIAN PHOTO BY MARY MACKAY

Island Abbey Foods, a Charlottetown-based company, is among Atlantic Canada’s 2012 fastest growing companies according to Progress Magazine.

The magazine this week released its 2012 list of fastest growing firms during an event at the Crowne Plaza Moncton Downtown.

“The fastest growing company list identifies high-growth mavericks,” says Pamela Scott Crace, editor of Progress Magazine.

Founded in 2004, Island Abbey Foods is built around the Honibe (pronounced “honey bee”) brand, a line of candies, sweeteners and lozenges made from dehydrated honey using a method that founder John Rowe began developing in his kitchen more than two decades ago.

The technique removes the moisture from honey without diluting any of its sweetness, flavour or nutritional value. The company is earning accolades worldwide and, last year, landed a coveted deal with four of the Dragons from CBC’s Dragons’ Den, a deal Rowe ended up declining a few months later.

In the current issue of Progress Magazine’s fastest growing companies, Island Abbey Foods reports a 700 per cent growth rate, a 67 per cent employee growth and a company valuation of roughly $10 million.

Rowe predicts Island Abbey Foods will be worth more than $100 million in a decade.

Next for the company is to move beyond the candy and use Honibe as a platform for delivering everything from vitamins to pharmaceuticals.

Other fastest growing companies include: Halifax-based B4Checkin (1,808 per cent growth); Halifax-based Sheepdog Inc. (1,244 per cent growth); Halifax-based DSM Telecom (324 per cent growth); Kentville-based Maverick Communications Inc. (162 per cent growth); Moncton-based Major Drilling Group International Inc. (159 per cent growth); Halifax-based Trampoline Branding (56 per cent growth); and Hacketts Cove-based Nautel (35 per cent growth).

Organizations: Island Abbey Foods, Progress Magazine, Crowne Plaza Moncton Downtown CBC B4Checkin Sheepdog DSM Telecom Maverick Communications Major Drilling Group International Inc. Trampoline Branding Nautel

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada

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Recent comments

  • Finally
    November 11, 2012 - 17:25

    Congratulations John! Your business is also a bright light for Robert Ghiz' bio commons park. The only real business in the $35 Million plus farce. Keep up the good work!

  • How much
    November 11, 2012 - 16:41

    This is great-however I'd like to know how many government dollars were involved here?

    • Who cares
      November 12, 2012 - 22:46

      The company is turning a profit, it's on the cutting edge of a sector that is hard to break into, and you are trying to stir up sh$# by posting inane comments? It takes money to make money, and if govt. saw fit to give these guys a hand up, all the more power to them (and for all I know, maybe there isn't a lick of government funding here beyond letting them set up in an industrial park).

  • jim
    November 11, 2012 - 14:00

    John and his company are examples of where government should be investing. True entrepreneur from the Island who have Island interests at heart with a track record of success. A lesson to be learned for sure, the company creates jobs, real jobs. Great job Island Abbey Foods!

  • Mell
    November 11, 2012 - 13:27

    What a wonderful "breath of sweetness, light and fresh air" this story is, and I am so so glad that they did not get involved with the Dragon's Den- it is called dragon for good reason, I would say! It is wonderful that they can accomplish this huge success ON THEIR OWN without the help of the "dragons". I remember watching them on the show as well. GOOD STUFF!! CONGRATS!! I am proud of you!