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How Jenna Food Products’ success delivers tasty Middle Eastern flavours across Canada

three men in Jenna Food Products warehouse

When Ed Demyati of Jenna Food Products moved to Canada from Syria in 2008, it didn’t take him long to realize there was a major market opportunity brewing in the food supply and distribution industry. 

Honing in on the growing popularity of international cuisine in Ottawa, Demyati and his brother launched Jenna Food Products in 2015, a full service logistics and warehousing company for food and beverage brands serving Middle Eastern restaurants and big-box retailers across Canada. 

Armed with an existing knowledge of sales, distribution and logistics from his family’s longstanding history in the import-export business – over 100 years to be exact – Demyati set out to replicate his family’s success in Ottawa.

Goods on shelves a Jenna Food Product's warehouse

“We wanted to help these international brands establish themselves in the Canadian market,” says Demyati. “A few years in now and we’ve exceeded our own expectations.”

With demand for service on the rise, Demyati says he quickly knew he needed some outside expertise to help manage the company’s growth trajectory and ambitions. 

Turning to BDC for help, Demyati was matched with a financing partner, who assisted the Jenna Food’s team in securing some working capital to invest back into the company.

Soon after, he was paired with BDC Advisory Services, where he began working closely with Tara Parry, a senior client partner with the firm. 

“From day one of meeting the Demyati brothers, you could tell they had the right mindset to make their business a success,” says Parry.

“They were eager to share their industry knowledge with us, and were open to recommendations we made whether it came to process or strategy, which makes for a great partnership,” she added.

A new home for Jenna Food Products

One of the critical projects Demyati tackled with BDC was moving Jenna Foods from its original 3,000 sq ft warehouse in Ottawa to a new, 18,000 sq ft, state of the art building in Russel.

interior of Jenna Food product's warehouse

Leveraging BDC’s financing opportunities, Demyati says they were able to build the highest quality facility, including specialized loading docks, a space saving design and top-tier heating and cooling systems to ensure product shelf life. 

“That was just the tip of the iceberg of our work together,” says Parry. “From there we started exploring how to expand their product lines, reach bigger retailers and implement the technology they would need to remain competitive and successful.”

In addition to real-estate financing, BDC also supported Jenna through the transition with advisory services, including food safety certifications that would allow the company to export products both domestically and outside of Canada, as well as sales and marketing to optimize revenue growth. 

“BDC has been a key piece in our growth story,” says Demyati. “They’re constantly supporting us and seeing what we need. Whether it’s advice, or funds or relationships and business connections, they are helping us through it all.”

With no plans to slow down in the future – in fact, the distribution company’s new facility has the option to expand another 18,000 sq ft if needed – Demyati says his goal is to make Jenna Foods the number one food distributor in Canada. 

And with a partner like BDC on his side, he says the dream is not so far off. 

“If you have ambitions to grow your business beyond your means, you need to think about who is going to help you, because it’s not something you can do alone,” says Demyati. “Don’t be shy about asking for help, or admitting you don’t know everything. There are people out there who can help you.”