Geraldine Pelletier is looking forward to an exceptional year for her Vancouver company, Tartine Tarts. After persistent efforts to tap into the international market, the premium pastry manufacturer has achieved significant inroads in the US with the help of government funding through the BC Agrifood & Seafood Export Program.

One of IAF’s earliest export clients, Pelletier began laying the groundwork for expansion into the Pacific Northwest and Western US in 2014.

“With support to develop more effective branding for the Tartine product line and attend vendor shows and sales calls, we were able to establish an agreement with two key distributors and brokers in the Pacific Northwest and California,” she reports.

Delving into international waters, however, was not always smooth sailing for the Tartine team.

After considerable effort on two consecutive export campaigns, they suffered a major setback in 2015 when a US trademark ruling restricted them from marketing the ‘Tartine’ label, forcing them to incorporate a new company with the new name, ‘Tartistes.’

Despite the unanticipated delays to their export plan, Tartine eventually finalized relations with brokers and distributors on the US west coast, and by 2016 managed to secure new listings for their quiche products at a mid-sized grocery chain based in the Pacific Northwest and a national distributor.

“As a result of this early support we were able to establish the marketing and sales infrastructure required to sell and deliver product in the western US,” explains Pelletier. “Having developed the necessary relations with brokers in the geographic market in 2015, we were confident that continued efforts the following year would help us gain traction in the US market.”

Happy to help Tartine capitalize on their momentum, IAF once again delivered matching government funding that enabled them to embark on further market development activities, including meetings with prospective buyers, in-store demos, exhibiting at vendor tradeshows, and developing new marketing materials to reflect their new US brand.

By the end of April 2017, Tartine had already reached 75 percent of their export sales goal for the year, with listings at two of Kroeger’s west coast chains totaling more than $200,000 in sales.

According to a pleased Pelletier, their Tartistes 9” patisserie flan shell even managed to supplant a large European supplier listed with Fred Meyers.

“Support through the Export program has allowed us to attend more trade shows, develop more professional collateral material, and not hesitate to make trips to our geographic focus,” says Pelletier. “We are now looking forward to a good year overall for Tartine Tarts!”

Funding: $26,038 provided by the governments of Canada and British Columbia through the BC Agrifood & Seafood Export Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. (EX056, EX176, EX312)