From humble beginnings, the original Extreme Bean Hot & Spicy pickled bean was founded in 2000 and tirelessly perfected in Matt Larochelle and Steve McVicker’s apartment, with Matt’s pickling-expert mother giving the product her seal of approval. Since then, the Matt & Steve’s brand has significantly expanded its product roster, while upholding its commitment to creating tasty, topical, social and fun products, with the highest of quality standards. With one jar of Extreme Beans consumed every 11 seconds, Matt & Steve’s has become a beloved household staple, and is carried in all major retailers, bars and restaurants nation-wide. Product offerings now include things like pickled asparagus.
With an extended fan base coast-to-coast and increasing popularity in the U.S., Matt & Steve’s is committed to its Made in Canada operations. This is a growing anomaly in today’s market, with 83 per cent of new, branded products launched in Canada being neither developed nor manufactured in Canada. Matt & Steve’s recently moved to a state-of-the-art-facility in Mississauga, where the team of 50+ employees takes the art of pickling to a whole new level.
What do you enjoy most about the industry you’re in?
SM: I have been in the retail and hospitality industry since I started working at the age of 13 as a dishwasher. I feel the industry attracts likeminded people who like to work hard while enjoying themselves along the way.
ML: I enjoy making something tangible; something people eat, enjoy and have fun with.
Best advice you have ever been given?
SM: Time is one thing you can never get back, and learn to say no.
ML: Evaluate cash investments in the business on the long-term return of that money not the initial pain it causes in the month or the quarter.
What is one trait you have, that you find has attributed to your success?
SM: Passion. When you have passion for what you are doing, that passion shines through and is very infectious to all the people you encounter, whether it be members of your team, your vendors or – ultimately – the end user.
ML: Intuitive, decisive, tenacious and being creative
What is the lesson you took the longest to learn?
SM: That I can’t do everything. I am getting better at passing along responsibilities and accountabilities to others so I can focus my time and energy on my strengths.
ML: To wrap plans around people’s skills, not people around plans. I have learnt that everyone has a genius and it is my job, with the help of the person, to find that genius and apply it to company’s needs. The person is super happy because, who doesn’t love doing what they are really good at, and the company is better off because these functions, initiatives or goals are being performed by the best person in your organization to accomplish them.
What makes it all worth it?
SM: What makes it worthwhile for me is building it – the company itself and the brands we have created – and then to receive such positive feedback from our customers.
ML: Every time we break through the next level of business, whether that’s a sales goal or talent acquisition, or lunching a new product. It’s a rush.
What long term goals do you have for Matt & Steve’s?
SM: Last year there was one jar of Extreme Beans consumed every 11 seconds, we want to get that down to one jar every second. We have a lot hustle ahead of us to get there!!
ML: I would like to be a household name in Canada and the U.S.
How do you balance your work and personal lives?
SM: I Don’t, I feel it all blends together for me. Enjoy every min of the ride
ML: I do not think balance works in the traditional sense as a business owner. I think integration makes more sense. My family is part of my work. I often incorporate business trips with my wife or events with my kids. When running a growing company, I believe integration is much more realistic then balance. I am not sure as a small business owner you are truly allowed to check out.