Forbes Forest Finds
Finding a niche and filling it is a classic recipe for success. That is just what Rodney Forbes did in 2011, when he started Forbes Forest Finds.
Based in The Pas, the company trains people to find and harvest natural products that are sold to other companies. Forbes Forest Finds also offers packaged wild rice, tea blends, dried mushrooms and salves.
Forbes started the company to fill the void created when the Northern Diversification Centre (NDC) closed. NDC was a government-funded business which bought non-timber forest products and taught local residents how to gather non-timber forest products for sale. After it closed, businesses were still looking for product and Forbes decided to fill those orders.
“And now,” he says, “I’m buying and selling product for multiple businesses, worldwide.”
Manitoba forests are a great source of natural ingredients, though the practice requires a trained eye. Forbes travels to various communities, including First Nations, recruiting the help of local residents to get the product he needs for his clients.
Maintaining positive relationships with the various communities is vital to his business, as is good communication with the companies who seek his products.
Forbes says he always wanted to have his own business, so the opportunity to take on this unique challenge proved irresistible – and ultimately, successful.
Geography matters to the product sourcing, but not to Forbes’ business development, thanks to the impact of social media. It has been key to the company’s ability to easily communicate with clients and contractors to ensure orders are filled in a timely manner.
Forbes likes conducting business in northern Manitoba because permitting is quick and efficient, products are plentiful – and it is where he lives.
Looking ahead, Forbes hopes to be buying and selling his product in large volumes, as well as employing more people for gathering product on demand.
Forbes believes determination has been vital to his business success in this unique industry. When he first started his company, Forbes said it was sometimes difficult to get products to market, but perseverance has certainly paid off.
“Without the determination to succeed,” he said, “I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”