After 26 years on Bay Street, Rosemarie Wilson (nee Neale) co-founded Neale’s Sweet N Nice ice cream with her nephews in 2013 — reviving her father’s brand that originated in 1940s Trinidad and Tobago. One of 12 children, Rosemarie took it upon herself to learn the trade and help her father Charles run his small business, selling ice cream through neighbourhoods of southern Trinidad by bicycle. Now VP of Production and Operations, Rosemarie continues to create recipes with tropical fruit to bring the Caribbean tastes to the Canadian market.
My first job ever was… a teacher at a private Christian High School in Trinidad for about seven years.
The best thing about what I do is… that I am my own boss, and I make ice cream for a living! I can explore my creativity and do something I am passionate about.
My favourite flavour that we sell is… Coconut Frozen dessert (ice cream). This is our signature flavour and what my father started his business in Trinidad with in the 1940s. It lets me reminisce about growing up back home.
My proudest accomplishment is… reviving our Trinidadian family legacy here in Canada.
My boldest move to date was… retiring from a job after 25 years and dedicating myself to working full-time to launch Neale’s Sweet N Nice in Canada and compete with well-known brands in the market.
I surprise people when I tell them… this is not just a story, I live this. I am the 10th of 12 children. What I learned from my father is expressed in the flavours I create.
My best advice from a mentor was… “Follow your dream to achieve your goal.” This may be a very lonely path, but if you’re going to make it, the motivation and strength will come from within.
I would tell my 21-year old self… You will make some incredible strides and achieve great heights some day.
My biggest setback was… in the mid-80’s— his is when our lives took a change in Trinidad. We were going through an economic downturn, and I had already stopped working to stay at home and look after my five children. Then my husband was laid off from work, and then my father passed away on Mother’s Day, 1988.
I overcame it by… moving my family to Canada to pursue a fresh start and create a new opportunity for us all. I stepped out of my comfort zone and moved into what was unfamiliar territory. To this day I take my experiences with me and continue to work on stepping out of my comfort zone and embracing change.
One piece of advice that I often give but find it difficult to follow is… to let people in so they can get to know the real me. I have a lot to offer!
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… how important family is to me and that I am very involved in our church— I play the organ and direct the choir. Music is a passion for me—in fact, everyone in our very large family is either connected to music or sports and we always sing when we get together. One of my nephews was Haydain Neale of Jacksoul, another Joseph Neale, lung cancer survivor & advocate, singer & songwriter. Other relatives involved in sports have played for the Hamilton TiCats, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Edmonton Oilers, the WNBA or Team Canada for Women’s Basketball.
I stay inspired by… my faith.