Who would have thought two guys selling nut butters from the trunk of their car at the local market would come this far? It’s been 20 years of hard work, trying new things, making mistakes, celebrating victories, building relationships, and having many good laughs along the way.
It hasn’t always been easy but we wouldn’t change a thing. We’re ecstatic to be celebrating our 20th year in the natural food industry! Here’s our story from the start:
– May 1996 –
It all began with an art school project. Jason Dorland (right) created a packaging concept for his homemade nut spreads. The brand was named Skeet & Ike’s after his nickname, Skeet, and his golden retriever Ike. Jason and his friend Ian Walker (left) thought this product just might sell. So they started mixing up batches of nut spreads during evenings, sampling and selling them at Granville Island Market on weekends, all while balancing multiple jobs to pay the bills. Eventually they had to quit their day jobs and run Skeet & Ike’s full time.
– 1998-2006 –
- They discontinued Skeet & Ike’s nut spreads and expanded into making healthy snack foods: Skeet & Ike’s organic popcorn, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, granola, nut mixes, soy nuts and soy cafe coffee.
- Finding that other independent natural brands had difficulty finding a distributor, they began distributing other brands such as Homegrown, Good Health, Hardbite and Little Creek.
- Bringing in so many organic ingredients, they started distributing organic bulk foods in 2001.
– 2007-2012 –
- Operations moved into our current building on Dawson Street.
- We launched the Hippie Chips brand in 2009 which was later relaunched in 2012 under the Hippie Foods brand to make room for different snacks.
- The company changed its name to Left Coast Naturals to reflect its function as a distributor as well.
- We launched Left Coast Bulk Foods packaged bulk in 2010.
– 2013-2016 –
- We became the founding B Corp (sustainable Benefit Corporation) in Canada.
- Our facility also received its Gluten Free Certification.
- Under our Hippie Foods brand we launched a family of organic, gluten free, non-GMO, vegan snacks: Hippie Granola, Hippie Coconut Chips, Hippie Cookies, Hippie Garden Chips and Hippie Coconut Clusters.
- In 2014 Left Coast Naturals became the first distributor in North America with an official Non-GMO Policy.
- We also participated in the reading of the proclamation of Vancouver’s first “GMO Awareness Week” along with Whole Foods, Nature’s Path Foods and GE Free BC.
– 2016 –
- We are celebrating our 20th Anniversary in the natural food industry!
- And we’re grateful to be named one of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers.
Twenty years later, we’re proud to still be GOOD PEOPLE PROVIDING GOOD FOOD. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this amazing journey and here’s to the next 20 years! Now for your viewing pleasure:
The Left Coast Family through the years:
Co-founders and pals Ian and Jason.
Skeet & Ike’s at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
Expo West Trade Show. Look who was there…
Teamwork! Our then volleyball team.
Our co-founder Ian wins Business in Vancouver’s Forty Under Forty award.
Staff yoga breaks.
Open house carnival for vendors. Dunk tank and all.
Tree planting for Take a Hike Youth At Risk Foundation’s Trees 4 Teens challenge.
Remember this guy? Dave & Friends supporting HUB’s Bike to Work Week.
Summer party picnic games! Yes, those are Oreos melting on their faces.
Team building rock climbing.
Day on the slopes.
Boat cruise day out.
Extreme team curling!
CHFA West Trade Show.
Weekly summer organic BBQs.
The annual Halloween costume contest. It’s a big deal around here.
Ian makes our Hippie Cookies on CTV.
“Where the Wild Things Are” winter holiday theme party.
Summer party at the PNE.
Pajama fun day!
Helping out where we can.
If you haven’t seen it yet, to find out more about the Left Coast Naturals story watch our SustainaFOODability video: