CENTRAL SMITH CREAMERY
Nothing says “summer” quite like enjoying a heaping cone of ice cream. With the motto, “We dream in ice cream,” Central Smith Creamery (Central Smith) perfectly encapsulates the sense of delight that both adults and children feel as they have their first taste of summer.
Located on the Lindsay highway, just outside of Peterborough, Ontario, Central Smith manufactures a variety of mouth-watering frozen desserts, such as ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, and sundaes. The company began as a farmer’s co-op geared towards serving the Smith Township; however, in the early 1950s, Central Smith was sold to an individual buyer and subsequently, to the Scates family.
Today, husband and wife Ian and Jennifer Scates continue to own and operate Central Smith while working tirelessly to uphold the company’s mission: “To provide customers with an exceptional experience by ensuring quality service and innovation in [Central Smith’s] products.” Their hard work and dedication has not gone unrewarded.
OVER THE PAST THREE TO FIVE YEARS, CENTRAL SMITH ACHIEVED 80 PER CENT GROWTH, GENERATING BETWEEN $10 MILLION AND $15 MILLION ANNUALLY IN REVENUE. RECOGNIZING THAT THIS GROWTH RATE IS LIKELY UNSUSTAINABLE, BOTH IAN AND JENNIFER HAVE AGREED TO AIM FOR 5 PER CENT YEAR-OVER-YEAR GROWTH GOING FORWARD.
Birthday cake, chai vanilla, and chocolate fudge brownie are just a few of the 23 ice cream flavours produced by Central Smith. With a customer base spanning all across Canada, Central Smith serves a number of different markets, such as restaurant chains, hospitals, schools, and scooping parlours. When asked about exporting to the United States, Jennifer explains that transportation costs and stringent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements have discouraged Central Smith from expanding abroad.
Without international expansion, Central Smith will continue to innovate and develop its product offerings to satisfy untapped markets. An influx in new Canadians created an opportunity for Central Smith that management was more than willing to capitalize on. By producing new exotic flavours, such as black bean, yam, and cheddar cheese corn, Central Smith broadened its customer base, thereby increasing revenues.
Having established itself as a major business-to-business supplier of frozen desserts, Central Smith no longer has to worry so much about acquiring new customers. “Compared to the early days, when we were fighting for every dollar, things have gotten easier,” says Ian.
NOWADAYS, THE COMPANY’S FOCUS IS ON CUSTOMER RETENTION AND ENSURING AN EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE—FROM THE MOMENT THE ORDER IS PLACED TO ITS DELIVERY.
Currently, Central Smith employs 37 individuals from a variety of educational backgrounds, including high school and university graduates. Historically, the average level of education for employees has been lower than other manufacturing firms; however, Ian and Jennifer are beginning to require a higher level of education for their hires.
With jobs in administration, sales, production, etc., Central Smith employs individuals with a wide range of skills. Given the unique nature of ice cream manufacturing, Central Smith has yet to partner with any post-secondary institutions; nonetheless, the company is open to developing such partnerships in the near future, once it has developed the appropriate infrastructure.
Few companies in Eastern Ontario are as devoted to their local communities as Central Smith. By providing a number of charitable initiatives, fundraisers, and church groups with delicious desserts, the company helps organizations raise money while keeping costs to a minimum. Beyond making financial and product donations, both Ian and Jennifer contribute a significant amount of time to volunteering in their community. From sitting on the local hospital foundation’s board to participating in the annual Dragon Boat Festival, Ian and Jennifer undertake many activities that distinguish them as role models for all business owners looking to establish strong relationships with their respective communities.
Going forward, Central Smith will seek to create further efficiencies through lean manufacturing, and to maintain sustainable organic growth. With a wide range of flavours, loyal customers, and products offered at a competitive price point, there is no doubt that Central Smith will continue to thrive in the competitive frozen dessert market.
Discover how you, too, can dream in ice cream by visiting Central Smith’s website.
Published on July 5, 2016
Central Smith Creamery manufactures quality ice cream products for scooping parlours, restaurants, hospitals, and schools.
Headquarters: 739 Lindsay Rd., Selwyn ON
- Ian Scates, Owner
- Jennifer Scates, Owner
Year established: 1979
Number of employees: 37
Revenues: $10 – 15 million CAD
Line of business
Central Smith offers a complete dairy bar, which includes ice cream, sundaes, sorbet, and frozen yogurt.
Currently, Central Smith ships all over Canada, from coast to coast.
Customers: Central Smith has a number of B2B customers, such as: restaurants, healthcare facilities, scooping parlours, schools, etc. Additionally, Central Smith also sells directly to the end consumer through their own ice cream parlour.
R&D, Skills and Educational needs
Employees: Required skills and education backgrounds vary, depending on the position.
R&D: In 2010, the firm added an extrusion line in order to produce individual portions of ice cream.
Originally, Central Smith began in 1896 as a farmer’s co-op. At that time the “factory” produced quality cheese and butter from the milk supplied by local dairy farmers. In 1952, Central Smith began exclusive production of premium ice cream. In 1978, the Scates family purchased Central Smith, and gradually expanded the factory’s product line.
Chapman’s, Nestle, Kawartha Dairy
Currently, no partnerships with post-secondary institutions, however there is interest in partnerships in the future.
- Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program (SHRED)
- Keeping up with ever-changing customer demands
- Updating their IT systems to be as efficient as possible
- Attracting top talent
- New trends in the frozen dessert industry, such as dairy-free sorbet
- Increasingly competitive niche
- Price competition for new contracts
- Over-saturation of the Canadian frozen dessert market
- Business Excellence Award for Marketing