MONCTON – Prelam Enterprises, which specializes in odour control offerings like Just’a Drop and LUKY8, is offering to share its manufacturing facility and expertise to businesses in Atlantic Canada.
“We realized that a lot of small companies are doing it in their kitchen, in their garage, or basement. But if they want to scale up, there’s no real way to do that unless you invest a lot of money for equipment, a location, the resources for trademarks, laboratory, certification and all sorts of challenges that I went through 20 years ago,” co-founder Luc Jalbert says.
With this offering, smaller businesses can take advantage of the system that Prelam uses to invent, formulate, brand, manufacture and distribute their own products in Canada and abroad.
“We realized that we have the whole infrastructure here, we have all the resources here and the knowledge, and also we’re able to produce because we have the square footage to do other people’s products,” he said.
Jalbert says he realized when mentoring entrepreneurs that many companies in Atlantic Canada are in need of co-packing solutions. He sees Prelam’s co-packing offering as a stepping stone or private sector incubator for smaller businesses that want to scale up.
Prelam has an 11,250-square-foot facility that includes a laboratory, and a production line with an output of over 20,000 bottles per seven hours. In addition, the company will offer its chemists and design team, as well as logistics services and tailored export, sales and marketing strategies. Jalbert also plans to share his knowledge and connections to help small business owners avoid costly mistakes and navigate growth.
“We’ll charge you and it will cost you a bit more than what you would do if you were to do it yourself, but you don’t have to invest $100,000 or $50,000 because we can bring you to the next stage when you have a proven concept,” he said.
Jalbert added that businesses can prolong their contracts if they decide to stay with Prelam as a co-packer.
Prelam has already been a co-packer for two multinationals and one local business, and it’s in talks with a few other small businesses. Jalbert says its work with multinationals and Prelam’s own exported products means its facility meets the standards required for products meant for international markets.
The move won’t affect Prelam’s own manufacturing, he said.
“We do all sorts of product packaging of our own, but a lot of time I find that it’s not busy in the back. So we might as well offer it to potential people who want to grow their business,” he said. “We just schedule depending on the account.”
If the service is popular, it could lead to Prelam’s expansion, Jalbert said. Already when production is high, the company hires six-to-eight staff temporarily, in addition to its 10 full-time staff.
“We bring a lot of temps all the time. It’s just we need more consistent work to hire more full-time workers,” he said. “The more co-packing we do, the more space we need, the more staff we need.”