Hope Blooms cashes in with $40,000 investment from Dragons’ Den

Published on November 14, 2013
A packed house watches the Hope Blooms episode of Dragons Den on Wednesday night at the Halifax North Memorial Public Library.
Metro Halifax/Jeff Harper

HALIFAX - It’s official – Halifax’s north end is home to a group of dragon tamers.

Over 250 people packed into the common room of the Halifax North Memorial Library to watch the kids of Hope Blooms make their pitch on the CBC’s Dragons’ Den Wednesday night, where they asked for $10,000 to expand their salad dressing business for five per cent royalties.

But after hearing the pitch, four of the five business moguls decided to offer $10,000 each without any royalties and agreed to spread their story, a couple with tears in their eyes.

“I felt like I was going to cry out of happiness,” said Christiana Hubley, 14, who appeared on the show. “We knew we couldn’t mess it up because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, so we just had to do what we did.”

While the Dragons got an on-screen group hug, the library erupted into cheers and clapping as the rows of supporters rose to their feet in a standing ovation.

The kids of Hope Blooms grow fruits and vegetables in a large garden and greenhouse for community dinners or soup programs. Many help out with making and selling the dressings, where a part of the sales go into a scholarship fund.

“It’s a huge release for us to be able to talk about it,” said Hope Blooms lead Jessie Jollymore, about the months of secrecy since the episode taping in April.

Jollymore said the $40,000 will go towards a year-round greenhouse to grow herbs for the dressings and “amp up” production to hopefully sell the products in local grocery stores.

Jim Treliving, one of the Dragons, is the president of Boston Pizza and Jollymore said he’s working out the details to feature the dressings in Boston Pizza locations around Christmas.

But it’s the newfound confidence and change Jollymore’s seen in the kids that is “worth more than its weight in gold.”

For an area that was discriminated against as being poor, Jollymore said Hope Blooms “broke down the walls of limiting beliefs” and made people take pride in their community.

“When you start thinking outside the box, once you’re out of that box, as big as you can dream, it’s even bigger,” Jollymore said with a huge smile.

- by Haley Ryan - Metro Halifax