Jiwani also cites the wisdom of the APBI’s policy to discourage companies from outstaying their leases. Companies that use the facility sign on for three years at accelerating lease rates, but once they pass the three-year mark, their lease rates go up to 125 per cent of market rates: a major incentive to have a plan in place. Knowing that, he says, “within the first year, when we saw our company growing, we started planning our move out.”
And while they have long since graduated, they still use the APBI now and then. “Sometimes, when we want to purchase some equipment, we’ll go there first and test theirs to see if it’s actually what we want,” says Jiwani. He values the relationships his family has built with executive director Ken Gossen and his team. “If we need to learn something, we can go to them, and if they need to learn from us, they can do that as well.”
Chef Bombay began exporting in 2003, and today 70 per cent of its product goes to the United States. What’s next? “We’ve started to talk to distributors in both Germany and the UK, and we expect that by 2020 we’ll be fully integrated into the European market,” says Jiwani.
Chef Bombay, like many other Edmonton food producers, is making its presence known around the world.
Says Jiwani, “A number of us are putting Edmonton on the map. This city is our base, but the world is our market.”