We want to be known as the one-stop shop for local, organic, natural products and foods for specialty diets
—Wayne Doerksen, World Wise co-owner
If your chef had a little more time to finesse your meal today, thank World Wise.
The Winnipeg-based natural foods distributor is a one-stop middleman between suppliers and its customers, like restaurants, health food markets and specialty food stores.
"We want to be known as the one-stop shop for local, organic, natural products and foods for specialty diets," says co-owner Wayne Doerksen.
The company is a distributor of natural, dairy-free, vegan, organic, kosher and halal foods to restaurants, health food and grocery stores. The venture launched in 2010 after Doerksen, a former chef, and friend Chris Boreski, a Red River College business school graduate, realized there was an unmet need in the market.
Chris Boreski and his co-owners want to be a one-stop distribution centre for restaurants, markets and health food stores. (Robin Summerfield)
The onus had been on restaurant owners, chefs, store managers and owners to track down and source specialty ingredients, products and meats, one-by-one, direct from the companies, producers or farmers themselves.
World Wise saves everyone time and effort by bridging the distribution gap, says Doerksen. Today, from its Higgins Avenue warehouse, World Wise stocks and distributes about 1,000 different products including locally-sourced honey, cheese, yogurt, organic and gluten free pastas, cookies, soups, juices, almond butter, curry spices, organic coffee beans, and many other items.
The majority of World Wise customers are based in Winnipeg but the company, which also includes owner Harley Watt and a fourth, more-or-less silent partner, has plans to expand to Saskatchewan and beyond.
Boreski credits the company's "walk before running" business model and a dearth of specialty food distributors in central Canada for their initial successes.
The World Wise model also supports the local economy and local farmers, Boreski says. Company customers, like University of Winnipeg's Diversity Foods, for example, align themselves with World Wise's support-local model, says Boreski.
And for World Wise owners, the business is "the ultimate living and breathing what you do," says Doerksen.