McKenna Bros (1989) Ltd
Potato Field

McKenna Brothers is a family owned and operated business that has been involved in the potato industry on Prince Edward Island for over 55 years. The business has grown substantially from its modest beginnings, when two brothers, John and Terence McKenna, invested their life savings in a struggling country store in Cardigan Head in 1952.

Through hard work, determination and forward thinking the brothers were able to turn the store’s fortunes around. By the summer of 1954, the decision was made to construct a larger and more modern store next to the existing structure. The new store allowed the men to carry a wider selection of goods, ranging from groceries to hardware to clothing and children’s toys.

Unlike many stores in the area at the time, John and Terence decided to offer extended credit terms to their customers, which allowed families to purchase goods throughout the year and repay their debts in the fall when their crops were harvested.

In 1956, they joined the Lucky Dollar franchise, a chain store owned by Atlantic Wholesalers, which provided them with better prices and also eliminated many of those annoying travelling salesmen.

With the purchase of the store in 1952, the brothers also began innocently dabbling in the potato business, not realizing the enormous potential this industry presented. They purchased their first shipping license for $5, the equivalent of which today costs $500, and three pick-up trucks that were used for hauling potatoes from neighbouring farms back to waiting railcars behind the store.

In 1959, a warehouse was built adjacent to the railway which allowed Terence and John the luxury of storing and grading potatoes before loading them onto railcars bound for Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and everywhere in between.

John was responsible for purchasing and sales and he worked out of a tiny office at the back of the store. During the busy shipping season, he often worked 16 hour days sitting on a milk carton behind his old, beat-up desk. Terence was responsible for the grading and storing of potatoes in the warehouse as well as the strenuous job of loading potatoes and pulp onto waiting railcars.

The potato business continued to grow and in 1979, Terence’s son Peter, moved behind the sales desk. John’s sons, Kevin and Shawn, joined the sales team in 1983 and 1985 respectively. In 1987, Leo, another of Terence’s sons, joined the business and assumed the responsibility of warehouse operations manager.

McKenna Brothers underwent further changes in 1989 as the second generation of brothers purchased the company from John and Terence. They also purchased Island Shipping Limited that year, a Charlottetown based potato exporting company that allowed them to become more aggressive in the expanding export market.

McKenna Brothers expansion continued into the following decade with the construction of a modern storage and packaging facility on site which allowed the business to cater to their customer’s ever-growing needs. Two additional temperature controlled storage facilities were constructed in 1992 and 1995, increasing the facilities storage capacity to roughly 20 million pounds of potatoes.

Finally, a third generation joined the sales team when Shawn’s eldest son, Ryan, moved into the office in August of 2006.

Today, McKenna Bros. (1989) Limited and Island Shipping Limited proudly ships the highest quality Prince Edward Island potatoes to markets around the world. Our customers include jobbers, repackers, wholesalers, foodservice and brokers in Newfoundland, Quebec and Ontario, the Eastern Seaboard of the United States ranging from Boston to Miami, Central and South America, the West Indies and Europe.


Old Lucky Dollar Store
Old Lucky Dollar Store

Today's Plant

Designed by Big Dog Networks