Locke, New York
Jack Powers has expanded his business, Happy Jack's Maple, considerably over the years.
Jack, a former police officer, decided to pursue opportunities where his newborn son, diagnosed with down syndrome, could feel included as he got older.
Shortly after he began brainstorming ideas, a family friend approached him with an opportunity. A man was harvesting maple syrup sap from the family friend's maple trees a few miles away from Jack's property but was about to stop due to health issues. Jack tasted the product and was sold. He began researching the maple industry and wrote up a business plan for the new operation shortly thereafter.
A new adventure
"I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me but that was ok,' Jack said. "But I finally found comfort in knowing my son would have something he could learn, love, and take pride in as he grew older."
In the summer of 2011, Jack began construction of a sugar house and a 3,000 tap tubing and vacuum system to take advantage of Cayuga County’s strong maple industry on his family’s farm. February 4, 2012, he made his first batch of maple syrup.
Growth in many markets
Every year since then, Jack adds upgraded equipment, tubing, and taps to the operation. Today, the wholesale and retail maple business has grown to reach a capacity of 15,000 taps. The goal of Happy Jack’s Maple is to provide customers with the highest quality maple products from the Finger Lakes Region of New York. In addition to syrup, the farm produces maple cream, maple candy, maple popcorn, maple cotton candy and maple granulated sugar.
Farm Credit was there to help
Jack is a customer-owner of Farm Credit East and received the financial assistance he needed to start his business through their FarmStart Program. FarmStart makes working capital investments of up to $75,000 to northeast agricultural ventures showing promise of success.