2009 Winners

Northeast Private Sector

Bisma Haider - North Bay

Dee Adrian

People said it would never work. But Bisma Haider is an entrepreneur through and through.

And what began as one Euphoria Smoothie and Nutritional Supplement
location in North Bay has grown into more than 40 independently owned franchises around the world.

“As soon as we opened up the first location the public response was incredible,” Haider said. “Lot’s of people told me it wasn’t going to work, ‘It’s too cold in North Bay for smoothies.”

Five years later Haider owns and operates four stores and Euphoria’s Canadian/international warehouse in North Bay. Her Euphoria empire in North Bay employs more than 50 people, with three other independently owned locations in the city.

Euphoria has more than 40 locations worldwide, but Haider said, “We don’t own the locations. We license out the concept.
“We wanted to stay away from franchises,” she said.

Displaying how deep her entrepreneurial spirit runs she explains: “In a franchise, people don’t get to use their own ideas. If you open a Euphoria location it is your business,” she said, explaining you are free to add wraps to the menu or bring in new flavours of smoothies.

“We also have a training centre to guide licensees through the store. It’s hands on. Licensees can come in, bring their employees and get all the training they need,” Haider said.

“So when they open their own location they know exactly what they are doing.”

Today, there are Euphoria locations throughout Northern Ontario, Toronto and across the country in small and large communities. The Euphoria experience has gone global with five locations in the United States, three in the United Kingdom, one in Kuwait and another in Dubai. The entire worldwide euphoric smoothie movement started thanks to boredom and a ‘for lease’ sign.

Haider and her husband, Sam, were always both self-employed, she explained. Haider founded Cool Banners in 1997, and operated the home-based business for seven years.

“We were just bored, always at home for eight years,” Haider said. “It was getting repetitive and we saw a little place for lease.”

Their first idea was to start a health supplement store, and in the brainstorming process they added smoothies, she said.

The healthy idea sprang from: “Being self-employed and raising three boys, we were eating a lot of junk,” Haider said, adding they wanted to offer the North Bay community a healthy option.

“We used real fruit puree, mixing it up with all kinds of flavours,” she said, explaining that her and Sam did a lot of research and testing in the early going.

Euphoria is always looking for more licensees, she said, and new stores are preparing to open in Sudbury and Innisfil.
“We also opened a location at Nipissing University and St. Joseph-Scollard Hall,” she said.

“We are getting into the establishment.” We want to go into the schools because they have taken out the pop and junk, and we can provide a healthy alternative,” Haider said.

But it takes more than just being a savvy business person to be recognized as an Influential Woman of Northern Ontario. Haider does a lot more than just help the economy, she gives back to her North Bay community and supports the entrepreneurial spirit in the world’s less fortunate.

“The North Bay community has been so good to us, that’s why we like to support and give back whenever we can,” Haider said.

She extends her support to anyone who asks: From the Lions Club Foundation to the North Bay Multicultural Centre or the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.