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Dave Hygaard

For Sherwood Park, Alberta sandwich maker Dave Hygaard, innovation came in the form of a plastic bottle.

For over 20 years, Hygaard Fine Foods made its reputation on pre-packaged submarine sandwiches, pizzas, ham and cheese sandwiches and garlic ribs whose shelf-life had been extended by injecting carbon dioxide gas into the sealed package. At its peak, the company was shipping 60,000 sandwiches per day to hotels and convenience stores throughout North America.

In 1996, Hygaard moved to marketing spring water sourced from Valemont, British Columbia, capitalizing on the up-and-coming trend toward bottled "designer" water. He established a plant in Sherwood Park and was soon shipping 35,000 bottles of water per week to markets throughout Canada, the United States and Asia.

To make Arctic Chiller water stand out, Hygaard designed a distinctively colourful plastic bottle that eventually became enough of a trademark that other companies fought over the rights to manufacture the design for their waters. By 2000, he was about to lose most of the North American rights to use the bottle of his invention.

Three companies were in the running to win the licence to market a spring water using Hygaard’s bottle and the Star Trek label.

"Whoever wins the fight will take my bottle," he told the Edmonton Journal. He was scarcely singing the blues, however. The monthly royalties were expected to be in the $30,000 range.

Today, Hygaard describes himself as "semi-retired," but is still active enough that he keeps office hours and answers his own phone.

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