Richmond company celebrates 100 years in the seafood business

It’s salmon and a bit of salt in a can: a century-old recipe that has been one Richmond company’s key to success. 

“The product is really unchanged in 100 years,” said Gold Seal’s president and CEO Ian Ricketts. “And I really think that’s the key to success, when so many brands historically have tried to optimize profitability at the expense of quality.”

And while Gold Seal has seen a number of milestones in its lifetime — the creation of the first fisheries research laboratory in Canada in 1927, and employing Walt Disney in the 1940s to design some of the company’s first print ads and promotional characters — none is as important as the centennial, according to Ricketts, which Gold Seal is currently celebrating.

“I don’t think you can really beat 100 years. I think that 2019 is the biggest milestone for the company — reaching that century of being a brand. There’s just so few brands that stand the test of time.”

Rickets also attributes the company’s longevity and success to its people, who have helped the brand survive ups and downs and economic turns throughout the years.

“We have a small team of 34 people here at Ocean Brands and I would say that many of them (have) 30 to 35 years of experience in the industry. These are very passionate people as it relates to seafood and (they have) a really strong dedication to quality,” said Ricketts.

Earlier this year, Gold Seal was named a Certified B Corporation for its commitment to social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

Gold Seal products have been produced by the Great Canadian Fishing Company for five decades — since 1868 — before the name Gold Seal received its own trademark in November 1919.

Ricketts also grew up with Gold Seal products stocking the shelves of his pantry, something he thinks many Canadians can relate to and which has helped the brand reach an “iconic” status in the west coast and across the country. 

“Gold Seal is one of those brands I grew up with in my household… I was very excited (when I came to the company) because it was a brand that, right away, I recognize from childhood and still have in my pantry today. I’ve just always had it in my house.

“So for me, it just takes me back to being a kid, and being at home, and one of my memories is that it’s just one of those brands that was always in the house.”

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