Business Spotlight: Fiasco Gelato
Oh, how sweet it is! Fiasco Gelato is a treat worth every spoonful. Even though Canadians can find Fiasco at their local grocery store nationwide, Calgarians have the unique opportunity to see where the magic happens and to try new flavours not available at grocery stores. The Fiasco Gelato Factory & Coffee Bar is where to find crave-worthy flavours like Frosé, passionfruit lemonade, and honey matcha, but you have to get flavours like this as soon they hit the shelf, because the choices change daily!
Avoiding gluten? No problem. Fiasco gelatos don't contain any. Going dairy or fat free? Simply reach for a container of Fiasco's delightful sorbettos. Buying Canadian? Fiasco is proud to be a Canadian company that sources local ingredients.
You'll feel like the kid that won the golden ticket when you dig into a sweet tub of Fiasco Gelato, but what goes into making the perfect treat? Fiasco's Paige Pinder, social butterfly and the one in charge of the company's digital experience, lets us peek behind the fridge doors. The first thing we see is a big scoop of reliance.
"From the beginning we have been hit with adversity and setbacks," she admits of Fiasco's road to success, "but the team rallied around every time and worked hard to overcome the odds to get to where we are today. It didn't come easy, but nothing worth having is. Teamwork really does make the dream work." She further cites "perseverance and grit" as ideals important to the company.
At the start, Fiasco hand-pinted each batch, churning them out of two small gelato machines. Today, hand-pinting is still their signature move, but the addition of machinery means bigger batches made faster.
"The introduction of essential machinery has allowed us to produce enough gelato to supply retailers across the country," smiles Pinder. "One of our core values here at Fiasco is ‘we won't forget where we have come from.' It's important that everyone knows and remembers how we used to do it, where we used to do it, and what we have overcome to get here. There are a lot of people still at Fiasco that were a part of the early days, and we have to maintain that ‘climb through the window' creative thinking, doing what it takes mentality that got us here in order to get us to the next level."
For Fiasco's CEO, James Boettcher, it's not just about a career. It's about a lifestyle. "At the end of the day we are a company that's not just for profit. We care deeply about our customers, our community, and the environment. We are a leading certified B Corp, which means we meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. We believe in doing business differently and using it as a force for good. Plus, we use the highest quality ingredients that are sourced as locally as possible, we don't use any artificial flavours or colours, and we are mindful of allergens."
This commitment to excellence has recently earned Fiasco a Calgary Chamber ATB Small Business of the Year award. For owner Boettcher, this award is something special. "It meant everything to us," he says. "This acknowledgement for the team is truly humbling. Ten years ago, when I acquired this 'little company that could,' I would have never imagined that our impression on Calgary and the business community would add up to this. It is with great honour that we will continue to be stewards of this community and build something that matters. Our team and the community are bigger than ourselves. Fiasco has attracted some of the best talent Calgary has to offer. Everyone cares about one another and are here to help support and build one another up."
Fiasco had to overcome many obstacles to get where it is today, and as most small businesses in Calgary know, those obstacles keep on coming. Calgary has changed in the wake of the last recession, but the little gelato shop that could keeps changing right along with it. In fact, Fiasco more often than not leads the way rather than getting stuck behind changing and challenging economies.
Pinder explains, "With most things, we are generally proactive in our approach to what we understand will inevitably be an important focus for our business [to keep] expanding. Paying a living wage allows us to not have to worry about minimum wage increases, and partnering with companies like bullfrogpower® and Hop Compost allows us to leave the world better."
Making the world a better place is very important for the company. Fiasco serves a weekly hot breakfast to a local elementary school in a high-risk area. As a team, they serve dinner once a month at a Calgary drop-in centre. Fiasco also donates as opportunities come up to causes like the Canadian Red Cross, Women in Need Society, to the families of the Humboldt tragedy, and more.
Boettcher says, "Being born Calgarian, I am always in awe about the quality of people that live here. At the heart we are a city built on entrepreneurship and it never ceases to amaze me that every time we go through some adversity, everyone puts their hands together to make a difference."
It's clear that Fiasco is a sweet company in more ways than one, but do Pinder or Boettcher have a favourite flavour?
"It's too hard to choose!" they laugh. "We are constantly innovating and creating new flavours for our fans. It's impossible to compare the ‘kids' like that!"
Perhaps they don't have a favourite flavour, but you can discover one for yourself when you visit the Fiasco Gelato & Coffee Bar in Calgary. Don't live in the city? You don't have to miss out! This little gelato shop that could is now in grocery stores across the country. You can find Fiasco in Victoria, Halifax, and even the Yukon! It's carried across the nation in grocery chains like Loblaws, Sobeys, Safeway and Co-Op.
"We are working on a lot of cool things for 2019 but you can expect some new flavours to hit grocery shelves, and we are even working on an all-ages music festival called Sounds of Summer," confides Pinder.
You need some sweetness in your life and it's clear that expertly-made gelato lovingly created from the finest ingredients with a focus on local community folded in is clearly a form of self-care. Indulge in a treat you deserve and scoop up some Fiasco Gelato today.