Former David’s Tea Head Launches Upscale Spice Brand with 1st Standalone Retail Unit

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A new company specializing in gourmet spice blends, called Kanel Spices, has opened its first retail location in Montreal as well as an online store, and has big plans for growth across a variety of different distribution channels.

Kanel offers a range of spice blends and sea salts that aim to provide an easy way for customers to make flavourful meals. Examples include Summer Black Truffle Salt, Smoked Chorizo Rub, Organic Sunday Roast, Organic Louisiana Fried Chicken, and the most popular blend, Sweet & Smoky Salmon.

Kanel’s founder, Kim Wiseman, came up with the concept after having her two kids and finding that she had little time to prepare meals.

“I couldn’t help but notice the lack of taste, freshness and the abundance of fillers in the average spice blend,” says Wiseman, who was previously head of store operations with David’s Tea. “I just saw an opportunity that would make my life and the lives of many others easier and more delicious.”

Kanel opened its first physical location, a kiosk, at CF Carrefour Laval in November 2018. The kiosk model is ideal for Kanel, Wiseman says, since it provides an open-concept space where customers can interact with the products.

“We were inspired by the experience found in food markets from around the world, so we designed the kiosk to allow customers to freely touch, taste and smell our blends,” she says. “The space is totally open concept so we mingle with our customers without barriers, and all of our transactions are cashless and completed on iPads.”

The design of the kiosk mimics the design of Kanel’s product packaging: clean and uncluttered, and primarily black and white. Wiseman says that although there can be a stigma around retail kiosks, she views it as a model with lots of potential for Kanel.

“We really are trying to ‘premiumize’ the whole kiosk experience,” she says. “At this time, we aren’t looking at in-line stores. We really like the way the kiosk model is so open. So, we’re going to keep working in that direction for now.”

Kanel is exploring potential new locations in Quebec and Eastern Ontario in 2019, with a focus on high traffic malls. The kiosks require between 100-150 square feet. In addition, Wiseman says she is interested in exploring other types of locations, such as spaces within food halls that are emerging across the country. The company is also considering distribution partnerships with specialty grocery stores.

“We see opportunity across Canada, and maybe beyond!” she says. “As we grow, we would like to continue to build a fully omnichannel experience for our customers, elevating their shopping experience.”

Wiseman plans to leverage the e-commerce channel to engage customers on a different level, by providing product recommendations and recipe suggestions based on each customer’s individual purchase history. In addition, she intends to enable users to share feedback, recipes and reviews with other shoppers through the online platform. “Nothing beats user-generated content in the food arena,” she says.

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  1. This is well-written and I’m looking forward to it! But when I saw the juxtaposition of "David" and "Spice" I initially thought this had something to do with the Beckhams and was momentarily disappointed. 😛 [shrugs]


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