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She knew she had a winner when her treats disappeared from freezer shelves within days of their launch

When Dionne Laslo-Baker launched her tea-based frozen pops during October and they flew off freezer shelves, she knew she had a winner. Ms. Laslo-Baker is chief executive officer of DeeBee’s SpecialTea Foods Ltd., based in Victoria.

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Ms. Laslo-Baker sells her non-GMO tea-blend iced treats under the brand name TeaPops. Three years later, her TeaPops are in more than 1,200 stores across Canada including Sobeys, Metro and Safeway.

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Ingredients for one of DeeBee’s’ frozen pops. The company has about 15 full- and part-time employees, and its annual revenue has doubled each year, says Ms. Laslo-Baker, who has a doctorate in medical science, with research focused on the effects of exposure to drugs and chemicals during pregnancy. “We’ve already surpassed 2015 revenue in 2016, and we continue to expand to more stores,” she says.

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Ms. Laslo-Baker would like to see DeeBee’s healthy treats in hospitals and schools, and in the cafeterias of progressive companies that want to serve healthy snacks to their employees. She has already been approached by a couple of big-name technology companies and universities.

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But DeeBee’s is in something of a Catch-22: The purchasing departments of these potential customers will buy only through a distributor, and the distributors Ms. Laslo-Baker has spoken with say they’ll represent TeaPops only if DeeBee’s can show signed contracts with guaranteed order volumes. “The distributors need to know that we can meet their requirement and guarantee movement of a certain number of SKUs,” she says, referring to product identification codes. The customers, on the other hand, “don’t want to worry about how we’re going to get our products to them – they just want to know which distributor we’re dealing with.”

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