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The Ice Cream Biz Gets a Bold New Contender

Have you tried the new handcrafted dessert yet?

Confidence can mean all the difference in the world according to ice cream entrepreneur, Lisa Dyck. She says the best way to gain confidence is when someone simply believes in you.

In Lisa’s case, that someone was her father.

“We were taught to drive trucks, fish, hold a gun, drive a boat, fly a plane or anything that we wanted to attempt to do. I think my dad was the thought originator for the tagline “just do it”,” wrote Dyck in a recent blog posted on her Cornell Crème Ice Cream website. “He literally put me in his truck and told me to drive it home before I was legal to drive. I said ‘but dad, how?” He said “just do it”. Of course he would not have let me drive if he didn’t think I could do it, he knew I could. It was a short distance but I was still scared. The only thing that kept me going was the confidence he gave me. He believed in me which made me believe in myself.”

Lisa, her husband William and their two children run a 1,000-acre farm called Cornell Dairy just Northeast of Winnipeg. Situated between the smaller towns of Beausejour and Anola, the dairy farm is named after William’s father, Cornelius, and is the foundation for Cornell Crème Ice Cream.

This made-in-Manitoba product has been capturing much attention recently via the taste buds of ice cream lovers throughout the province. A key part of the ice cream’s popularity and numerous awards is Lisa’s savvy entrepreneurial spirit.

“Funny how little things guide us along our path in life,” she continues in her blog post. “They say, and I do believe, you are what you think. Your thoughts shape your life. You see it in successful people, athletes, entrepreneurs. What they focus their thoughts on, they eventually become. I can accept the title of ‘entrepreneur’. I do however, struggle with the title of ‘female entrepreneur’. To label myself as female as opposed to just entrepreneur seemingly implies I am different because I am a woman… Being a woman doesn’t make it easier or harder for me. It all comes down to confidence. If you have someone that believes in what you are doing or just have the strength to believe in yourself, makes all the difference. Tune out naysayers and negative Nancy’s.”

By channeling the positives, Lisa has indeed become a force on the Winnipeg business scene. Crafting Cornell Crème Ice Cream to become exactly the type of product she envisioned all along has taken a good chunk of time and effort. And it’s definitely working and on the move.

“We purchased our own ice cream equipment and installed at Notre Dame Creamery where we will co-pack,” she explains. “This allows for growth without the heavy commitment of capital investment needed to build a plant from the ground up. We are available in over 20 stores throughout Winnipeg and Manitoba with more on a wait list. We are on menu at restaurants like the Fairmont Winnipeg and Market Burger.” They’re also available at a host of other restaurants and locations including Smith Restaurant, Parlour Coffee, Lakehouse in Clear Lake, Delucas and select Red River Co-ops.

Lisa also volunteers her time with various organizations and sits on three boards including the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, Manitoba Food Processors Association and Food Development Centre. Through Cornell Crème, Lisa has partnered with media, conservation groups and grocery stores to bring “Made-in-Manitoba” one closer step. Above all she maintains community spirit is an essential part of the bigger picture.

“Give back to the community that embraces you.”

Lisa’s 5 Key Ways to Grow Your Business

Lisa’s success could be attributed to her positive attitude, believing in herself and not limiting her potential. But there are some other practical and important pieces of advice she has learned along the way:

1. Have a good accountant and a good lawyer. You’ll be leaning on them at times, and good ones will take the weight of the world off your shoulders.

2. Invest the time and energy in creating a solid business plan. You can’t apply for funding, grants or loans without it.

3. Join networking groups like your local chamber of commerce. Ask for help amongst your peers and colleagues.

4. Focus on quality of your product or service. Keep it simple and do it well.

5. Secure a good supply chain. You’re going to need it, especially when things start to ramp up.

These key pieces of advice have helped Lisa on her path to greater success as a new entrepreneur. We can’t wait to hear more from her and the successes of Cornell Crème Ice Cream. Keep an eye out for it next time you have a craving for a delicious treat!

Learn from 4 other Canadian business entrepreneurs who have learned lessons on their way to success.

Duncan Morrison

Duncan is a Winnipeg-based writer and communications consultant that specializes in freelance writing, strategic communications and marketing plans for clients from a wide range of organizations and businesses. His work has been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines.

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