Locally owned and developed Epicure is marking two decades of operations by staging its national conference in downtown Victoria this week.
The direct-sales company has 800 people attending its event to celebrate the family business that brings in more than $50 million in revenue annually. A picnic lunch was held on the lawns of the Fairmont Empress Hotel on Thursday and tonight the Victoria Conference Centre will be the scene of a company gala.
Epicure carries more than 300 products that include dips, rubs, seasonings and cookware. It has a sales force topping 10,000 spread across Canada, and employs 175 staff at its North Saanich headquarters.
“We are excited. We are growing. We are grateful to be doing business on Vancouver Island and Victoria,” chief executive officer Amelia Warren said Thursday.
Warren is the daughter of Epicure owner and founder Sylvie Rochette, who remains active in the company in areas such as product development.
Warren has been at Epicure for a decade and has held the CEO position for seven years. Her husband, Kyle Vucko, is Epicure’s chief creative officer.
Epicure is a leader in Canadian direct sales and is one of FedEx's largest customers in Western Canada, Warren said. The company is seeing strongest growth in B.C., Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.
The company started with Rochette putting together four blends of spices to sell at a country market. Total sales that day were $286.
Rochette kept on growing her company, developed new products and, in 2007, created the direct-sales operation.
The headquarters includes chefs working on new products, plus teams in manufacturing, the warehouse, quality assurance, distribution, and marketing and sales departments.
Sales people earn money by staging home parties featuring a cooking demonstration using Epicure products, which participants can then purchase. A sales person can earn more income by bringing people in to the company and growing a team, Warren said.
People are taught how to prepare healthy food quickly, she said. Products are gluten-free, without preservatives, and do not have nuts.