A short story about one remarkably sweet bakery

“It was quite a sight to see people gently lined up around a block, patiently waiting to enter this bakery.” In a nutshell, that’s how one my wife’s best friends described this adorable little bakery that she visited on a trip to Calgary about a year ago or so. That’s how I first heard about Crave. And… I was hooked. I didn’t know if I’d ever stop at Crave’s bakery in Calgary, but I was awafully tempted. Why? Because this was a classic example of organic word of mouth at work, and in my experience it always springs from something authentic.

Fast forward to the late April 2011—I crossed paths with Crave again. Here’s what happened: I was tying down my bike to a post on the sidewalk in front of one of my favourite coffee shops in Saskatoon when, with a corner of my eye, I noticed this new store-front on the southeast corner of Broadway and 10th Street. Upon closer inspection I realized that I was looking at the future home of Crave’s new shop in Saskatoon. Long story short, a few days later I had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with one of the founders, Jodi Willoughby, and she graciously agreed to conduct a quick interview for sneezr.ca.

Jenan: Where did the idea for Crave in Saskatoon come from?
Jodi: Carolyne and I want to grow our brand organically and ensure we expand to places we ourselves have enjoyed being. Saskatoon is home to some very good friends of ours and we want to be a part of the great culture and food scene in Saskatoon.

Jenan: A valuable service or product is one that customers perceive as making them happier. Crave seems to have happy vibes for everyone—what’s your secret ingredient?
Jodi: Our secret ingredient is that we truly care about our product, our employees and our customers. Our recipes stem from a long line of bakers in our family and it is important to us to maintain that quality. All of our cupcakes are made from scratch the morning you buy them, with good whole ingredients, real eggs, real butter, whole milk and of course love.

We would not be where we are today without all of the hard working people in our stores and at our head office. We appreciate our staff and there are some perks to working for us such as free cupcakes each week, Tiffany key chains on first anniversaries and of course working in a great environment!

We also would not be where we are today without the support of our customers. We try and create an experience for each and every person that walks through our store that makes them feel special and that will keep them coming back and tell their friends.

Jenan: Can you describe a typical working day at Crave?
Jodi: There are two parts to a crave store – the bakery and the retail. Our bakers start between 4.00 and 5.00 in the morning. All of our cupcakes are mixed by hand and baked that day to sell in our stores. Our retail staff come in to set up the store. It is important to us with both components of the business that our customers leave with a smile on their face and products that they are excited and proud to eat and share with their friends and that our customers feel special throughout their whole experience.

Jenan: Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
Jodi: Our plan is to keep going – whether that takes us to Eastern Canada or Western we have not decided. For now, we are just going with the flow, working at being the best we can be.

Jenan: Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Jodi: Be passionate about what you do and then be fully committed. There is not a day that goes by that we do not love what we are doing and what we are sharing with our staff and our customers. There are long and hard days that push us to be better at what we do and to rise to the challenge requires a true love of what you do. We truly believe that if you are passionate about what you do and you work hard it will be recognized by yourself and others.

Jenan: Thanks Jodi and all the best until next time!

May 5, 2011

Pictures by RealView