Nova Box, which sells gift boxes stuffed with goods made in Nova Scotia, is expanding across Atlantic Canada with the acquisition of The East Coast Box Company.
Allyson England, who started Halifax-based Nova Box four years ago, said the acquisition will allow her to work with producers in all four Atlantic Provinces, and distribute their goods to customers across Canada and in foreign countries.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Nova Box has always celebrated the talented makers, artisans and business owners of Nova Scotia,” said England in a statement. “We’re so glad to be able to support more local businesses through our gift boxes.”
England launched Nova Box in 2016 to help provide a market for locally made goods in Nova Scotia. “To date, Nova Box has worked with over 60 companies from 35 communities throughout Nova Scotia – from Yarmouth to Cape Breton and everywhere in between,” she said, adding that sales rose during the pandemic as people shopped more online rather than at stores.
So far, she has been working from home, using two spare rooms to store the goods and using her kitchen table as an office. Now, Nova Box is moving into an office at the premises of Common Good Solutions, the Halifax group that supports social ventures. With the larger space, she will also bring on her first employee to help with the holiday rush.
In 2018, England completed her export training through a Grow Export pilot program offered by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Nova Scotia Business Inc. Going forward, England is planning to begin with an East Coast Box with goods from across the region, then as her business grows offer boxes with products from individual provinces.
England is known in the startup community as one of the Co-Founders of the 100 Seeds Atlantic initiative, which generates seed funding for young entrepreneurs. She said the organization still plans to hold another competition, but is figuring out how to best hold an event “in a virtual world”. In an interview, she said: “We always found one of the great benefits for the entrepreneurs was meeting people and mingling with people at the events.”
Based in Hammonds Plains, N.S., The East Coast Box Company was started in 2018 by Anne Hooper, who recently opened The Boathouse Goods & Gifts, where she sells her Maritime-inspired products, many of which can also be found in Nova Box.
“I started The East Coast Box Company with the goal of making beautiful, cute (and sometimes salty) gifts from the Maritimes,” said Hooper in the statement. “I love the East Coast and have always been inspired by what our region has to offer.”