Island Couple make Pitch Competition Finals

Erica, Sophie and Spencer at their home on St. Joseph Island.
Erica, Sophie and Spencer at their home on St. Joseph Island.

Spencer and Erica Hogan of St. Joseph Island are the owners of Hogan’s Homestead and finalists in the Bridges to Better Business Pitch Competition.

They started their new family business in 2016 with a small inheritance and the idea to make maple syrup. “Spencer came home from Kentvale with a few sap buckets and that quickly turned into another trip back for more.” says Erica.

Hogan's Homestead specialty maple products.
Hogan's Homestead specialty maple products.

The couple started out tapping 26 trees on their property at Sunset Point. This quickly grew into leasing property on the outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie and purchasing sap from a producer in Desbarats to keep up with the growing demand for their maple products.

Hogan’s Homestead offers some specialty maple products such as their unique Maple Bourbon, Maple Cinnamon, and Maple Coffee which is infused with coffee beans roasted on the island. “We love to partner with other local businesses like the SJI Coffee Roasters, so we use their coffee beans in our syrup and they use our syrup in their maple coffee and tea products”, says Erica.

In 2019 the Hogan’s developed a fundraising program and accepted their first junior entrepreneur. Ten year old Peyton King submitted her resume, interviewed, and signed a contract with Hogan’s Homestead. She agreed to the terms which included: paying a consignment fee on product sales and setting aside 25% of her earnings into long term savings.

Peyton King Junior Entrepreneur for Hogan's Homestead.
Peyton King Junior Entrepreneur for Hogan's Homestead.
photo by Rad Imagery.

Since Peyton started in the program she’s created her own business cards, Facebook page, and worked hard at selling. With $4000 in sales since March, Peyton has paid for her horseback riding lessons, donated to a local charity, and saved some money for her future.

Since the junior entrepreneur program has been so successful, Hogan’s will be accepting a second junior entrepreneur in 2020, to learn about business, sales, finances, budgeting, and purchasing.

The Hogan’s entered their family business and junior entrepreneur program in the 2019 Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship Bridges to Better Business Pitch Competition and made the cut to the top 4.

After submitting a 2 minute video and 30 page business plan, Hogan’s Homestead along with IPI Creations were selected as finalists to present their pitch on October 24th for the $10,000 cash prize. They would like to put the prize money towards a location where they could run their JE program, do interactive syrup production tours, and have a gift shop to sell their products.

Tickets to the live event which include: trade show, pitch presentations and guest speaker Mandy Gilbert are available at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/74422502709

Good luck Spencer and Erica!