The owner of a local bakery in operation for about 50 years is asking customers to share their fondest memories of the business and the confections it sold before it closes its doors for good later this year.
The West End Bakery will close its retail store at 105 Wyndham St. N. on June 2, but owner Sandra Koiter said she will keep the phone number in operation and the production bakery on Waterloo Avenue will continue to fulfil orders on a limited basis as the business winds down.
“We will try to maybe bake on Wednesdays and Fridays to fulfil orders for our wholesale people or customers that want to order something,” said Sandra.
The Waterloo Avenue property is for sale. Once sold, said Sandra, the business will cease to operate.
“As long as it is not sold, we will continue to service our wholesale people and other customers who want to put it an order — if we can still do it,” said Sandra.
The Wyndham Street storefront has been in operation since 2011, selling baked goods, as well as serving coffee and lunch.
It was a return to downtown for the bakery’s storefront, after being forced to close a different Wyndham Street location in 2007 due to a fire in the adjacent Gummar Building.
In between the two Wyndham Street locations, the West End Bakery retail location operated for a time on Yarmouth Street.
Running the bakery is a lot of physical labour, said Sandra, and she continues to work on the business’s administrative paperwork after hours.
“It’s not as easy to run a business nowadays as it was, perhaps, years ago when we first took it on. It just seems to be more work for what you actually get,” said Sandra.
About 35 years ago, Sandra and her husband Nick Koiter took over operation of the bakery from her father, who opened it in the 1960s.
“I have run it for 35 years and that is a long time — we’re ready to do something else, said Sandra. “We’re ready to have a job that’s maybe not quite so involved as running a business. Something that is less work.”
Over the decades it has been in operation, the bakery has been a part of many special days in Guelph, creating countless birthday and wedding cakes and other treats, sometimes over many generations.
“Some people would say they used to come with their grandma, and then their mom and now they have kids,” said Sandra.
The bakery has taken part in many fundraising efforts in the community over the years — supporting a number of causes like the Guelph Humane Society, Lakeside Hope House and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph, among others.
The bakery will run a contest, said Sandra, asking customers to share their fondest memories or their favourite baked goods purchased at the bakery over the years.
“A lot of people have already been sharing stories, so I thought it would be fun to actually read them all,” said Sandra. “I will draw one and that person will get a $100 downtown gift certificate.”