Buffalo-Based Supplier Grows her Business while Paying it Forward

When New Zealand-born Rebecca Brady moved to the United States from Japan, she couldn’t find a job. After a decade of being home and raising her children, she felt she no longer fit into the marketplace. Formerly a marketing professional, Rebecca saw this as an opportunity to reinvent herself.

In her new home of Buffalo, New York, Rebecca, an avid tennis and squash player, was always making healthy snacks, packed with nutrient-dense seeds and created with performance in mind. Loved by friends and family, Rebecca decided to try selling them at local farmers markets. Within the year, Top Seedz was born, and before long, Rebecca approached the leadership team at the Transit Road Wegmans to gauge their interest in carrying her products.

“I took a few boxes in and dropped them off to the store managers,” explains Rebecca. “The support I received from Wegmans was incredible. I was so excited to see my product in the store, and those first initial customers were all my friends who had supported and encouraged me from the beginning.”

From that one Wegmans location in 2017, to all 106 Wegmans stores today, you can find three Top Seedz varieties – Sea Salt, Rosemary, and 6 Seed – merchandised in the cheese shop and cracker aisle.

Rebecca is thankful for all the help she’s had along the way. An Ignite Buffalo grant helped her purchase a commercial oven and allowed her to move from a commissary space to a commercial kitchen of her own. Rebecca is also paying it forward by employing new Americans, all women, and providing them with stable, full-time employment.

“When I first arrived in the U.S., I received a great welcome and a good start. I want to reciprocate that and welcome these new people to our community,” says Rebecca. “Within the refugee community, I want their children to see that their mums are hardworking and making a living, while still being an active participant in their children’s lives and spending important family time together. I want to enable that. I want to make it an inclusive community for everyone.”

Last year, Rebecca and Top Seedz took first place in the 43North business competition in Buffalo. With the $1M prize, she’s able to scale her business, and is hearing from investors from all over the world who want to help her continue to grow Top Seedz.

Despite some staffing issues during the early days of the pandemic, Top Seedz is operating at full production, doubling its business every year. Rebecca attributes some of that initial and continued growth to her relationship with Wegmans.

“Wegmans helped by believing in me, believing in my product. They gave me the confidence I needed,” says Rebecca. “A lot of retailers insist on all or nothing, but by Wegmans supporting local, women-owned businesses, I was able to grow my relationship with them store by store, based on my ability to increase production and grow my operation. It’s been a fantastic relationship from day one, and I still love everything about Wegmans.”