“Hey Dad, can you bake some bread to send me to Uganda?” And so it began, with tin foil pans, two regular ovens and an arm-strong mixer. Sarah got to Uganda and I was in the dough.
Trout Lake Farmer’s market needed a bakery stall and Conchie Creations was born providing bread, cookies and muffins on a weekly basis from April to October. The weekly bread was the means of our daily provision. With three ovens and a baking table in the basement our production increased as the demand grew. By the time we moved to the last place in Vancouver we had gone from basement to garage, arm strong to Hobart and from 3 domestic ovens to 2 commercial gas convection ones. We were selling up to 400 loaves in 3 hours after having baked from Friday morning to Saturday morning.
When we had to move from our garage we left the city and set up our bakery on a 5 acre hobby farm in Comox. For the first year there we baked, sailed and sold to our Vancouver customers. We had the van loaded at 3 am, caught the 5:15 ferry from Duke Point and were set up by 9:30. Realizing the grace extended and the potential perils of continuing after the first successful season, we said goodbye to the Vancouver market and became vendors at the Nanaimo market on Friday and the Comox Valley market on Saturday. Baking all night Thursday for Friday’s market and all night Friday for the Saturday market we stretched grace to the limit again and realized the short-term sustainability of this endevour.
In February with a few months to go before the market opened the idea came to stop the market and open a retail bakery. Having built a local clientage through the market we set up a display counter, shifted things around and advertised the grand opening of Little River Bakery. With the allure of free donuts along with fresh bread and cinnies, we had over 100 people who came to our grand opening. A year later Sarah returned the favour of raising money for her African trip by writing a “First Year in Business” article for the local newspaper, and for Christmas giving us Little River Bakery Jackets.
It was a wonderful 5 years of rewards, equal to and greater than the work we put into it. Our regular customer base drew from Campbell River to Union Bay some 50 miles south, along with visitors from around the world. Shortly after our 5th anniversary of business it was time to move on. We had left our mark though as the new people on the property for a long time after had to put up signs saying “The Bakery is no-longer here”.
In the early spring, 10 years later, I was in the doctor’s office in Campbell River with a fellow staring at me from across the room. With a look of recognition and a smile, he said: “Sure miss those cinnamon buns!”