Sweet taste of success for husband-and-wife grads
Do you enjoy pumpkin spice lattés and strawberry ice cream? If so, you can thank flavour manufacturers, who provide the distinct tastes to these and countless other edible products.
Donald (Don) Poole, BSc 72, and Bonnie Poole, BComm 86, know this better than most. The husband-and-wife duo run the Mississauga, Ont.–based company Bonnie and Don Flavours. Together, they lend savouriness to food products that can be found across Canada and the United States.
“We supply flavourings to ice cream companies, drink manufacturers, bakeries. We even produce flavours for pet food, which is new for us,” says Bonnie Poole, who manages finance at the company. Their group of 30 employees has developed over 10,000 different flavours since they opened shop in 1998.
It all happens at their 7,620 square-metre plant — complete with tanks that can hold up to 2,500 kilograms of product. Taste gurus with chemistry degrees create the flavours. They include garden-variety concoctions such as cherry or apple.
Yet, as Bonnie Poole says, there are some less conventional items in their library, like “Jamaican me crazy” coffee flavour and Peppermint Pattie mint flavour.
Keep it in the family
“There’s no off switch!” says Bonnie Poole of the work-life dynamic as a husband-and-wife team. “We’re almost always talking about the business.”
Bonnie Poole joined Don and Bonnie Flavours in 2013. Before that, she’d spent much of her career as a controller at a division of the Panasonic Corporation.
“I’d actually taken an early retirement,” she says. “I decided to go in to Bonnie and Don Flavours one day. I’ve been going back ever since!”
It’s a different story for Don Poole, who’s a veteran when it comes to the flavour industry. His experience dates back to his time studying chemistry at Sir George Williams University, one of Concordia’s founding institutions.
“I was working with a professor, named Jacques Lenoir, at night. We were doing things like chlorinating vegetable oil,” he says. “I would say my intrigue for food chemistry started at Concordia.”
While at the university, Don Poole joined soft drink flavour manufacturer Continental Beverages in Montreal. After that, he worked at Universal Flavours. Before starting his own company, Don Poole was vice-president of operations at FBI Inc., a manufacturer of juices and drinks.
Loyal to Concordia
Something the Pooles have in common is that they both benefited from Concordia’s flexibility.
“I went at night and worked during the day,” says Bonnie Poole of her time studying accountancy. “It was hard, but fun! I made friends I’ve stayed in touch with.”
The same is true of her husband, who also took evening classes.
“I had started in 1966 in the Norris Building. We were there for a month and we were transferred to the Hall Building,” says Don Poole. “That was neat — and the university is still growing.”
The Pooles don’t just team up when it comes to business. Together, they support a number of different causes at Concordia and are also planned giving donors, which makes them members of the university’s Heritage Society.
“I think it’s important to give back. We like our university. We’re loyal people,” says Bonnie Poole. “We want to support students who weren’t as lucky as we are.”
- Bonnie and Don Flavours
- Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Department of Accountancy
- Concordia Planned Giving