Our colourful history.
Our roots in the spice business reach back over 30 years. We are a second-generation family-owned
business with a legacy of high standards and commitment to our customers and our suppliers.
Our journey began when Brock Buchanan travelled to Tanzania in the late 1960s, a trip that sowed the
seeds for the founding of Buchanan Trading almost 20 years later. Today the reins of the company have
been placed in the capable hands of Brock’s daughter Holly, who continues to build the family legacy.
Brock Buchanan embarked for East Africa for 2 years as a CUSO (Canadian University Service Overseas) volunteer in Tanzania, where he gained tremendous experience as a young commodities trader. His entrepreneurial spirit was quickly recognized, and he was asked to build new business for a semi-governmental company. This opportunity allowed him to help develop the sales of various export items, including Tanzanian cashew kernels, and to build new markets in Japan, East Germany, and Holland. By the end of Brock's tour with CUSO, he had travelled around the world and contributed greatly to the company’s sales. But for this young Canadian, Tanzania didn’t just introduce him to the Zanzibar clove—it forever changed his life.
Brock married Delphine Buchanan, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Enticed by the breadth of opportunities Canada had to offer, they moved to Toronto and established a home and family.
After 13 years with a major Canadian international trading company, Brock was released. Despite a significant record of accomplishments, he was deemed too independent for the firm he represented.
With the encouragement and support of his wife Delphine, Brock established Buchanan Trading Inc. From a small office in Toronto, the company traded spices for import into Canada and sold bulk vegetable oils for export to Asia. The business was initially financed with a loan from Brock’s mother and the liquidation of Brock and Delphine’s modest savings. While they had enough to trade small quantities of spices, they lacked the funds for the bulk vegetable oils that moved across the world in quantities of 1,000 metric tonnes. Fortunately, a newly opened bank came through with a line of credit—just weeks before Brock received an inquiry from a Singapore oil dealer for a $1.3 million shipment. This first oil trade was a success, and Buchanan Trading had truly launched itself.
Brock and Delphine’s daughter, Holly, joined Buchanan Trading to fill in for a trader on maternity leave. With Brock about to depart on a critical marketing and trade trip to Asia, Holly knew how important it was for her to help support the business during his absence. Before Brock reached Vancouver, Holly had concluded a sale of 50 tonnes of black pepper with one of the largest spice buyers in Canada. Brock was astonished, and it was clear that Buchanan Trading had found a talented new spice trader. This marked the start of a great business partnership between father and daughter.
Under the joint leadership of Holly and Brock, the spice and oleoresin business continued to flourish. As their business was succeeding, the food industry was going through a period of great change. Increasingly stringent regulations were being introduced, putting a growing emphasis on food safety. Buchanan Trading embraced these shifts in the industry, which presented an exciting opportunity to enhance its business model and showcase its strengths in quality and supplier relationships. The new model moved away from a traditional trader style of business to one that was all-encompassing, with a customized approach for each customer.
After years of learning all aspects of the business from her father, Holly had grown to truly respect and appreciate its potential. It came as no surprise to the industry when Holly officially took over the reins of Buchanan Trading in May 2006. She had witnessed and admired her father's ability to live up to his personal values by maintaining high standards in business. She continues to honour his legacy, employing her passion and commitment to building lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships.
After 30 years in business, Buchanan Trading celebrated a milestone anniversary with a renewal of its commitment to integrity of product and relationships, in harmony with practices that promote sustainability. Today the company is well positioned to take on the exciting new opportunities that lie ahead.