Founders Forum: Shaping the Future of a Family-Owned Business

APRIL 22, 2022
2:15 PM – 3:00 PM PT
ROOM 208-209


Mathew Holtmann
(President Vita Health Fresh Markets)
Darren Wright
(Director, Gordian Health Products)
Ryan Labonte
(Operations Manager, Vita Health Fresh Markets)


Join panellists Mathew Holtman, of Vita Health Fresh Markets, along with long time co-workers Darren Wright and Ryan Labonte as they share stories of taking over the family business, what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to succession planning, and how a new leader can shape a future vision while staying true to the past.


Mathew owns and operates the third-generation Vita Health Fresh Market retail stores in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Having introduced organic and natural grocery items in Vita Health stores, Mathew began the transition from predominantly supplement-focused stores to six full service fresh markets Vita Health operates today. Mathew is passionate about supporting and assisting local producers, charities and food banks and is an advocate for inclusive workplaces.  


Darren has worked in the Canadian health food industry for 30 years beginning with Vita Health Products of Winnipeg and through many years as a key support provider for the Health First Network. He is a co-founder of the research-based Certified Naturals® line of supplements. 


Ryan Labonte has been the Operations Manager for Vita Health Fresh Market for the past 7 years. With the company for over 20 years, Ryan has worked in almost every department including Sales, Grocery Department Manager, Store Manager, Corporate Grocery Manager, and his current role. His passion for the industry has led Ryan to expand his knowledge by completing such courses as the CNPA and the Rising Star programs. Getting to help people every day is what motivates him, and Vita Health Fresh Market’s mission of empowering people to lead healthy lives allows Ryan to achieve that ambition.