Mod 2 Ideate (Ryan)

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    Ryan Flavelle

    Okay so here is what I have completed so far from the workbook. Any thoughts improvements etc would be appreciated.

    Customer Group
    1. Hungry people at the lake and in the town of Sylvan.

    Lakefront lot, must get phone number and call.

    2. those who want to grow their own food in their own homes by purchasing grow kits.

    Internet, facebook. Start with friends ideally work way up from there.
    3. Those who want to buy fresh food at the Lakeshore, or to expand into grocery stores.

    Develop a concept of a three part business. Front of house where food and produce are sold, middle house which prepares food, and back of house which hydroponically grows produce. In order to achieve the highest possible output of good, fresh, local produce, the greenhouse/restaurant will likely need to be relatively tall, which would increase build costs, but increase agricultural output.

    Customer Profile
    What is your customer profile?

    1. Describe your customers’ jobs:
    Many of my customers work in industries that pay them enough to have a bit of leisure time in Sylvan Lake when the weather is nice, or simply be at the lakefront year round. They are on the lookout for high quality food, but there is nothing fresh to be found (except freshii, which doesn’t sell produce). They want a delicious latte on a cold day and a fresh strawberry icecream on a warm day. They want those things to be where they are from. A lot of memories are made at the Lake front, my customers want have a brand that they believe in (millennials are a growing block), because it has provided them with the memorably fresh and delicious food they got.
    So imagine a man named Mohommad Burani. He lives in Red Deer and works full time in IT as an Information Technology Security Analyst for a company focused on merchant application security. He has a degree from the U of C and has stuck around Alberta because he did not want to move too far away from his parents in St. Albert, and his wife’s family in Calgary (he did like the idea of being four hours away when choosing his university). He is in Sylvan visiting family and taking in the sunshine. He makes about $70,000 a year and is the sole breadwinner of his family of four. He is watching his kids play on the swings, thinking about what he wants to do, and he sees the store, right in the center of the boardwalk. Outside is a sandwich board that reads Strawberries, $4, coffee, lattes. He comes in and buys a cardboard box of strawberries produced 50 ft away, likes them and makes a point to come back. He shares them with his parents and they make a memory over a brand in an organic fashion. He is happy to see his kids (after they’ve sanitized their hands) enjoying healthy food, which they are because it tastes great. Good, local food is what we want to share with our families. Have items that are deliberately low on price point and higher margin stuff. Inside, Mohommad sees a relatively low cost hydroponic garden behind the counter with food growing in it. He obviously does not buy it then and there, but the idea is interesting and it sticks with him, he remembers it next time he is in town and plans an outing to the restaurant, sees the gardens again, $350 is just two trips to the grocery store, after all. He decides to buy one to have green in his house during the winter.
    2. Describe your customers’ pains:
    Price. Good food is usually expensive. And increasing. One would have to find ways to have low cost items to get people through the door. Being tired from standing on feet all day in the hot sun.

    Ryan Flavelle

    As far as discovery interviews go, I have contacted a friend that I am trying to sell on the idea of a garden for her home in Calgary. She asked for a few days to get to it so I am twiddling my thumbs on that. I proposed to build one for her in 30 days for $350 that would support about 16 plants.

    I also contacted someone I follow on twitter who built a net zero house regarding his experience with windows in order to try to think about pricing a build.

    I guess the other avenue to explore would be to try to contact someone in agriculture formally, like at a University. I could try Olds or Lacombe or Red Deer.

    Lastly I wrote a letter to Ferme d’hiver, a strawberry company that I want to partner with, but I haven’t sent it yet. I wanted to edit it very thoroughly before I send it away. They have had a lot of success in Montreal and other parts of Quebec.
    any feedback on the letter would be greatly appreciated.

    Ryan Flavelle

    Dear Ferme d’hiver,

    My name is Ryan and I would very much like to partner with you to bring fresh produce to my local community.
    I have always loved hardware, building things, taking an idea in my mind and making it real. In a functional way. I remember when I was a kid trying to make a solar oven out of tin foil. I got a stale piece of toast and the birds got a snack. I had just finished watching Captain Planet and I wanted to change the world for the better.

    When I was an adult I started working on radio and communications systems for the army, building the network with its physical components, giving troops a way to talk to command. Since I retired, I pursued my love of learning but now, having reflected deeply on what I want to do with my life, I have realized that I want to build something for real. The means to provide Albertans with the strawberries they deserve year round, grown at home. There is a market for it. I love strawberries but have basically stopped eating them because the quality of those one buys at the supermarket is so low and the output of my garden has not kept up. Since I quit smoking my sense of taste and smell have become my superpowers. I can tell those strawberries do not taste as good as they should. If we could build a greenhouse/grow house that sold strawberries, we could change the face of agriculture in the province.

    One could hope for expansion into both the larger Calgary and Edmonton markets, but by getting established in a small town within easy delivery range of both centres, an extremely popular local tourist attraction that currently has no distinctive or unique local business except perhaps the ice cream shop. If we were to give these people strawberries in the summer, the market is gigantic and – by word of mouth – provincial. My plan would be to start by building a small growhouse and expand onto the cheap agricultural land that surrounds the town to scale up once the initial location proves profitable.

    I believe that, as trends continue, we are going to see a complete shift in the way that we get our food. It seems to me that hydroponic greenhouse growing, based solely on the quality of the product produced, will be the wave of the future. All one needs is water, fertilizer, and electricity. The rest is just developing a good operational business plan.

    My experience with operational matters has been demonstrated in some of the most demanding and difficult circumstances imaginable, in other words I have accomplished difficult projects in diverse environments. I have had direct responsibility for millions of dollars worth of equipment central to keeping people alive. I have set and achieved the goal of learning vast swathes of history, reading hundreds of books to further my own understanding of the past. I have learned to seek truth, and sometimes to find it. But it has taken me ten years of school and a pandemic before I realized what I wanted to do with my experience and talent. I want to bring the food to the people.

    After I finished building my own, in-house, vegetable hydroponics system during the pandemic, I came across your business. I felt like you had finally answered the question I had long been asking myself. How are we going to change for the better? Ferme d’hiver is just a tiny piece of a huge puzzle, but growing the market for local produce, and executing on quality management protocols to produce a beautiful product that will always be in demand, will make peoples lives better and help the environment by reducing carbon intensive shipping is something that I want to be part of, and to replicate. I think that I would move forward in my quest to do this in Alberta with or without your help. But I would so much rather partner with you to gain insight into your operational model and try to bring it to the shadow of our glorious Rocky Mountains.

    I have a deep and abiding love of the French language (although not a mastery of it). I want to bring the best of Quebec here. My strength is in implementing protocols and overseeing operations. From Personal Protective Equipment, masking and hygiene, to harvesting, planting, feeding and pollinating schedules, protocols would be the key to establishing and maintaining product quality. You have demonstrated an ability to do this and I would love to learn from your expertise, and help grow your brand nationally.

    I would to share ownership of the Albertan venture, thinking along the lines of 25/25/50. I would likely be amenable to working with you to find a mutually agreeable financial arrangement. I would develop a team to get it done, and you would provide me the protocols to do it. Your experience in winning grants may also prove extremely useful as, I have heard from friends, the Alberta government is keen to promote agriculture as an alternative to oil and gas. It seems likely that we could find backers in Alberta. Although it might be possible to succeed by going it alone, I think that partnering with ferme d’hiver would provide me a far better chance of achieving a successful outcome. I like collaborative work. Ultimately, I am interested more in the strawberries, then the money. If I could produce good tasting strawberries to bring home to my family at the end of a day’s work, that would be the ideal outcome.

    Thank you very much for reading, and I truly look forward to your response.


    Judy Evans


    The letter is great!

    One suggestion, leave out the final paragraph to allow time to build a trusting relationship before you begin to talk about the collaborative structure of your relationship.

    There is a saying in business – everything is negotiable. If you leave the relationship open ended to start with, who knows what it could evolve into. If you put parameters around the relationship at the start, it may be a hinderance to developing.



    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by Judy Evans.
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