Toronto-based Liquid Nutrition Group – which operates a group of specialty stores specializing in “functional beverages” – announced today that it has partnered with Dragon’s Den star and Venture Communications owner Arlene Dickinson to open a group of new stores throughout Alberta and in Halifax.
Nutrition Group currently operates stores in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. Dickinson and her management team are currently scouting locations – ideally within close proximity to fitness centres – and expect the first store(s) to open within six months.
The marketing-executive-turned-TV-personality has sat on the board of Liquid Nutrition since the company was publicly listed in the spring of 2011, and is also a shareholder in the company.
Liquid Nutrition operates in a space Dickinson believes is poised for significant growth. She said Canadians are “looking for less-processed foods and more foods that are fresh, nutritious and close to us,” she said. “[Liquid Nutrition] answers that market need.”
Dickinson is not the first high-profile personality to establish business ties with Liquid Nutrition. Late last year, NBA star Steve Nash became an equity partner in the company and announced plans to open 20 stores in his native British Columbia – including some within a line of sports and fitness clubs bearing his name.
Nash is also one of the members of “Team Liquid,” brand ambassadors announced by the brand earlier this year that also includes NHL star Vincent Lecavalier and NFL quarterback Matt Ryan.
Dickinson’s decision to become a Liquid Nutrition franchisee stems from her ongoing involvement with the company, dating back to its invitation to sit on its board of directors.
“They were aware of my brand and what I like to invest in, and they approached me about participating on their board. As I learned more about the brand, I got to be more and more enamoured with it, and I think there’s a great opportunity here,” she said. “I believe it’s a brand we’re going to hear a lot more about in a very positive way over the next decade.”
Dickinson said she has “a lot of input” at the board level into how the Liquid Nutrition brand is positioned in the market. “There is a brand map in place and some really good strategy around how to take it to market,” she said. Venture Communications could “potentially” provide some marketing expertise, she said.
Liquid Nutrition has sold more than 70 franchises in the past year. It plans to open locations in Los Angeles. Late last year it announced that it had formalized a partnership with Liquid Nutrition Middle East – a group comprised of high-profile business leaders in the region – to introduce new franchises throughout the Middle East and North Africa, with the first store in Abu Dhabi.
Dickinson said she employs an umbrella strategy to investing that involves backing businesses that are poised to grow and evolve. Food meets that criteria because of its fundamental nature, while companies pursuing a health and wellness strategy are particularly attractive.