Christine van Reeuwyk
Oak Bay News
CBC features an Oak Bay family in its popular Dragons’ Den.
Oak Bay’s Graham Bavington and the clan – his wife Pam and children Sara and Matthew – managed to steer clear of the cutting room floor while pitching their HeeHaw Horseradish.
“We did a family pitch. We made it a holiday,” said Bavington, who is also a realtor. “The pitch we threw at them in May, is coming on TV, Dec. 7.”
While they can’t reveal the dragons’ response, the family plans to hold a viewing party that night to celebrate the home-grown business.
Frustrated by the lack of decent horseradish, one night Graham determined he’d make his own for a dinner party. On a February 2014 night – fuelled by good food, friends and conversation – he created HeeHaw Horseradish.
“Horseradish has this real following … it’s not just another jam or jelly or sriracha, it seems to matter to people,” Bavington said. “I know it mattered to me and I was angry when I couldn’t find any good horseradish.”
It’s been a labour of love since. In a Central Saanich commercial kitchen family members hand-peel horseradish – that’s the first ingredient as opposed to the parsnips that populate many commercial brands – and grind it with tears streaming. They quickly developed the Damn Hot and Double Damn Hot popular at street markets around the region, and in the past year on many store shelves.
They recently launched the SeaHorseradish, a seafood sauce, and branched out more than 400 stores.
“Since the pitch we’ve really been growing,” Bavington said. They signed Sobey’s/Safeway and are featured in the newest Whole Foods recently opened in Saanich.“Thrifty’s has been amazing they really get behind some local products.”
“I’ve been able to grow it through B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba,” he said. “Our goal is to go through to Ontario and then hang a right into the States and head west again.”
As always Bavington has more ideas brewing in the wings.
“I want to do a barbecue sauce that has horseradish in it,” he said. “There are so many different types of barbecue sauce and nobody does it with horseradish and they should.”
The HeeHaw Horseradish Dragons’ Den pitch is set to air Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. on CBC. Visit heehawhorseradish.com or find them on Facebook to learn more about the business.
“It sometimes feels like this thing has taken on a life of its own, but in reality it’s been a lot of hard work and our team and friends and family,” Bavington said.
“The support we’ve received from everyone has been amazing and we can’t say thank you enough especially to the early adopters who encouraged us to go for it in the first place. We’ll see what the future holds with it. I think we’ll continue to push to see if we could make this a national brand maybe. Now that would be pretty cool.”