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Luke Whitty: Cultivating his passions

You don’t need to know that Luke Whitty comes from a family of entrepreneurs to see that he’s overflowing with business savvy.

Luke loves collecting projects. At lg2, he acts as an account manager, but he’s also involved in two family businesses. On top of that, he launched a cider startup two years ago. In speaking to him, you can tell that there’s a lot going on in there.

In order to really get to know Luke, you need to take a two-hour drive outside of Toronto to the small town of St. Catharines. There, you’ll find Whitty Farms, the family farm passed down from generation to generation where Luke and his two brothers were raised by their parents. The farm, which is a mix of traditional and modern, is where Luke first started to dream big, well before seeing the skyscrapers of Toronto.

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Like all self-respecting farmers, work quickly became a part of Luke’s daily life. As soon as he was big enough to carry a basket, he began berry picking from morning to evening. It wasn’t long before Luke came to realize the true value of products and the food that ended up on his plate.

Luke gets his inspiration from his two biggest role models, his parents. His eyes light up when he talks about them. His mom, a total girlboss, has always masterfully managed over 100 employees. His dad is the perfect example of a hard worker who never keeps track of his hours.

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On top of working full-time on their farm, The Whittys also own 13th Street Winery, a successful vineyard that blends together their passion for wine, art, good food and hospitality. Luke also inherited all these passions. One summer, he even worked as interim chef at the vineyard without any knowledge of the job. After a six-month crash course, he was in the running for the title of best cook in the family.

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With his family being so involved in the wine industry, it was only natural that Luke would throw himself into the world of alcohol. He, along with two friends, founded Second Press, a small artisanal cider company, when they were still in university. While their first batch might have only been used for a salad dressing, Luke isn’t hiding his desire to grow the company anymore. He still feels the product needs to go from good to excellent. That’s his motto with everything he does.

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While nurturing his entrepreneurial side on the farm, Luke also developed a love for animals, most notably, the three Golden Retrievers his family had successively. He even goes so far as to say that he’s the biggest dog person in the Toronto office (sorry Rachael). This passion led him to sign up to Rover, the equivalent of Airbnb for dog walkers. Demand for his services was so high that he practically became a full-time dog walker. It was so intense, he had to eventually unsubscribe.

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Luke’s future is full of possibilities. He could take over the family businesses with his two brothers, bring his cider company to the next level or continue growing at lg2 for a long time. One thing is certain: Wherever Luke goes, a dog (or dogs) will be at his side.

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