In 1938, a man named Harlan Fairbanks created the Seattle-based popcorn company that today bears his name. Although Mr. Fairbanks founded the company, the growth and expansion of the business into the Canadian marketplace was due to the efforts of two aspiring entrepreneurs Jack Senior and Gord Sigurdson.
Jack Senior was hired by Harlan Fairbanks in 1954 to work in Vancouver where the company built a factory and distribution centre. Jack managed the Canadian operation and over the course of a number of years, purchased the Canadian territory outright and expanded Harlan’s further east. His goal was to grow the business and dominate the industry that we now call ‘Fun Foods’. Using an innovative approach which involved providing full service to their customers including equipment, service, supplies and programs, he succeeded in his mission. Jack Senior continued his expansion of Harlan’s, through both acquisition and by opening new branch locations in Calgary, Edmonton and Regina.
Meanwhile, in Winnipeg another young entrepreneur, Gord Sigurdson obtained the rights to the Slush Puppie brand and opened Greene Valley Concessions, a company which specialized in concession equipment and supplies. Gord also grew his business through acquisition expanding to a Regina branch location.
Jack and Gord were now in direct competition, however after getting to know one another, they formed a business connection and merged their sales efforts. Expansion continued with a Saskatchewan branch opening and in 2002 the two companies underwent a full merger under the name Harlan’s in 2003.
In 2002 Jack Senior retired from the business but Gord Sigurdson continued on. In 2005 Harlan’s was purchased by Richmond, BC based Premium Brands and Gord retired in 2012. During all of the growth and acquisitions the company underwent over the years, the entrepreneurial spirit continued to be a cornerstone for the business, inspiring the adoption of new emerging product lines and continuing to be at the forefront of implementing innovative new programs.
Today, Harlan’s has expanded into other areas that bring value to our customers and has become an industry leader in the areas of beverage and snack food programs, both in the concession industry but also within the foodservice industry. Our product lines include exclusive distribution for recognized and time tested brands such as Cretors® popcorn machines, Slush Puppie®, Boyd’s Coffee®, Ricos® nachos, Carbon’s® waffles, Perfect Fry® deep fryers and Carpigiani ice cream machines.
We value our roots and continue to operate with a focus on servicing our local communities the ‘old fashioned way’ with a commitment to service, quality and satisfaction. As we look to the future we will continue to bring our customers the newest in innovative products to continue our mutually beneficial partnerships.
Thank you to our valued customers. We look forward to the next decade of innovation and growth. To those that are not yet customers, we look forward to showing you the impact Harlan’s can make on your business.