30 Under 30: Scott McTavish is earning his way to the top of Purdys Chocolatier

McTavish will formally start buying Purdy's from Karen Flavelle in the next six months.

Scott McTavish, 29

VP, strategy and corporate development, Purdys Chocolatier

Life Story: As the son and grandson of former Purdys Chocolatier CEOs Karen and Charles Flavelle, Scott McTavish doesn’t beat around the (cocoa) bush. “I grew up with Purdys, it was very much a thing always around us,” he recalls. “But our family values were not to be given things. From an early age, I was actively discouraged from getting involved at all.”

So, for a long while, he didn’t. McTavish went to Queen’s University and studied geological engineering before working for a few mining companies. He eventually became  a senior associate for accounting giant PwC and maybe, in a different life, he would have stayed there happily ever after. In this one, COVID hit Purdys particularly hard, bringing with it a slew of executive turnover. Karen Flavelle stepped back into the driver’s seat for the first time in 10 years, and after some tough conversations, McTavish agreed to come on and help out for a couple months.

“I found I was enjoying it and decided to keep pursuing that,” he recalls. Soon, he was actively engaged in forming a process in which he would buy Purdys from his mother. “It’s different from a lot of family businesses—independence and a sense of accomplishment are very important to us. It’s actively harder on both of us to buy it as opposed to just giving it over. But it’s something we want to pursue.”

Since coming on board at Purdys, McTavish has focused on streamlining the decision making process as well as hiring a new executive team. He’s also transforming the company’s digital side, on which he says sales are up 60 percent since he began that work. In terms of production, the company is pushing toward a more diverse customer set with offerings that feature vegan items and celebra- tions around holidays like Raksha Bandhan.

Bottom Line: McTavish will formally start buying the company from Flavelle in the next six months in a process that he estimates will take around seven years to complete. The company has some 1,200 employees.