Thursday, 17 November 2011

Bigger and better

The dedicated webpage that was started a week ago has grown by leaps and bounds. A lot of long forgotten resource and reference material was uncovered, photos have been added and it has been brought completely up to date. Please check it out at:

I've had several comments recently on the updated site. Most people find it an interesting read and an unbelievable story.

While I was at it, I also registered the following URL's:  Check it out here.  Check this one out here.

Monday, 7 November 2011

A new home for this blog.

I wanted to have more control over the look and feel of this blog, so I've decided to move it to its own webpage on my main site. The contents of this blog have been copied to the new page and new/expanded content has already been added.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

More ideas... more money...

In October 2010 Al was onto another “big idea” about expanding the product line (adding fish and games spices) and increasing sales (open a storefront operation, “fish and chicken shack”).  He’d been talking about the Fish and Chicken Shack idea for a while, his plan was to franchise it and compete with M&M Meats.

This time he wanted an additional $8,000 and in return my share of the operation would increase from 25% to 49% although my share of the profits would remain at 25%. Needless to say I turned him down. The conversation got to the point where he was visibly upset and was demanding the additional funds. He was saying something along the lines of "... you've got assets, you can get a loan...  I don't have any assets, so I can't get a loan.". I told him I could probably get a loan, but who’s going to make the loan payments?

After all that’s happened since then I’m glad I didn’t go along with that big idea.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Fish processing and a food show

In September 2010 Al was telling me about a big deal in Kenora with a newly renovated fish processing plant and how they had confirmed orders for literally tons of frozen fish products, but they needed a good quality fish coating. He wanted additional funds to visit the owners in Kenora and get the contracts in place.
He also wanted to send product samples and have product displays created for an upcoming food show being held in Vancouver (Oct 2010). The food show was being coordinated by Inland Pacific Distributors (a national distributor) out of Langley BC.
I verbally agreed to the plan and advanced additional funds to cover these expenses, with a verbal agreement to repay the money at the end of 2010. 

Al returned from Kenora with nothing except something along the lines of the  “they don’t know what they’re doing...” story (again) and the big break-through food show in Vancouver seems to have dropped of the radar, although we did ship them several cases of the Canadian Classic Fishfry product.
Plus, all of the additional funds that had been ear-marked for these projects was gone without a trace.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Getting into the American market.

On one of our visits to a fishing lodge near Dryden (it may have been at Andy Myers Lodge on Eagle Lake) we met up with Pro Angler Tony Puccio from Bait Rigs Fishing Tackle. The plan with Tony was that we (as Sunset Resort Services?) were to distribute his high-end tackle in Northwestern Ontario and Tony would get Canadian Classic Fishfry into the Gander Mountain and Cabela’s outdoors stores in the States. I was told Tony had good connections with both companies and his Bait Rigs Tackle products was carried in a lot of their stores.
Did this breakthrough ever happen?? Beats me, everything sounded good at the time.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

On the road

Since Al didn’t have a vehicle I wound up spending roughly every 2nd weekend during the summer on the road with him all over this part of the country, covering the Fort Frances, Kenora, Red Lake, Ignace, Geraldton and Nipigon areas. I turned down several paying photography jobs in order get this project off the ground.
This was not part of the original agreement, my involvement was supposed to limited to being the money-guy. We split the cost of the gas 50/50, but nothing was offered for vehicle wear and tear (and we spent a lot time on gravel roads).
We moved a lot of product in the summer. I was surprised how well it sold and impressed by how much the customers loved the products.

It seemed like whenever Al talked to local distributors about handling the product he came back with something like  “.. they don’t know what they’re doing... they don’t know how to sell my stuff...”. I began to wonder what he was up to, these companies have been around for decades and I figured they must be doing something right.

Al was always going on about how important trust is and how his “previous business partner” (Don Harris of Sebastian Fine Foods) had left him with a pile of debts and good old honorable Al was making sure everyone would get paid. As time went on I began wondering if the “woe is me” story I was hearing had the names reversed and maybe it was Don Harris who might have been the victim.

He was also always yacking about how he liked to use other peoples money instead of risking his own money, be the middle-man as he put it. I’m the money guy in this situation and this is what he’s bragging about (should I be getting concerned yet) ??

Starting out

During the early part of 2010 there were a few bumps along the way.
  • Al was supposed to use the majority of my investment as seed money to leverage additional funds from government agencies, that never happened as Al came up with other ideas.
  • One of his other ideas was something called "Sunset Resort Services". Where does this fit into the plan?
  • There were some packaging problems, Al didn’t like the colours of the bags or something along those lines.
  • It turns out Al didn’t have a vehicle, the van in his parking spot wasn't road worthy. Another friend was supposed to let him use a van for the summer and Al was going to reimburse him for the use of the vehicle. The loaner vehicle never showed up. There were all sorts of excuses for this screw up.

An overview

This blog was started long after the adventure began, so I'll start off with a bit of history and eventually get caught up with the current situation.

I worked for the Thunder Bay Public Library at the time and I was dealing the public everyday. Al Sebastian became a regular visitor in the Fall of 2009 and started telling us about his big plans to relaunch his Canadian Classic Food Products fish batter and shore lunch business. As time went on I mentioned that I was a professional photographer, owned a small photography business and began discussions with Al concerning the possibility of supplying him with product and promotional photography in return for promoting my photography business to his resort clients.
Al began telling me about the details of his plan to relaunch his Canadian Classic Fish Fry business and had a business plan in place that would get him there for the 2011 season. Al eventually asked if I’d be interested in loaning him some money to enable to him to move his timetable ahead by one year.

In December 2009 I decided to loan Al the money in exchange for a 25% share of the profits with the loan (+interest) to be repaid in full by September 2010. The repayment date was later verbally extended to December 2010. As of today (Oct 19/11), I haven’t received any payments towards the loan or my share of the profits. I realized later that I should have agreed to a share of the sales not the profits.

Here's the URL for his Canadian Classic Food Products website ( and by the way, Al's full name is Albert Michael Sebastian.