Kelowna’s newest bakery combines the best of two favourite bakeries
Mill Creek Bakery is different than most other bakeries in Kelowna because, well, it’s only a bakery.
“If you go into most of the bakeries in Kelowna, they are lunch places and coffee places with some pastries,” co-owner Joanne Hlina told iNFOnews.ca. “There are no actual stand-alone bakeries in Kelowna, that I know of.”
She and her brother, Steve Wiltse, opened Mill Creek Bakery on Leckie Road on Tuesday, Feb. 23 as a combination of their two other bakeries that have histories dating back decades.
Almost five years ago they bought Sweet Caroline’s, which has been in Vernon for 24 years, Hlina said.
A couple of years ago they bought Bread on Wheels which, under various names, has been a commercial bakery in Kelowna for 20 years.
Hlina managers Sweet Caroline's while Wiltse runs the Kelowna operations.
“We’re doing the pastries and cakes that Sweet Caroline’s does – not all of them because we don’t have as much room as Sweet Caroline’s does but we are doing most of the pastries and we’re doing the artisan breads from Bread on Wheels so it’s a combination of the two businesses,” Hlina said.
There were two key reasons to open a bakery in the midst of a pandemic.
“We had a lot of requests from customers, who come to Sweet Caroline’s in Vernon, to open a storefront in Kelowna,” Hlina said. Sweet Caroline is a storefront bakery with a loyal customer base and a wide variety of pastries and cakes.
“As a commercial bakery we (Bread on Wheels) supply restaurants,” she said. “Guess what? Restaurants aren’t buying bread and buns anymore. We needed to pivot and that was our pivot – to a retail store.”
It’s a store with take-out service, no tables or chairs for lunches or coffee, although they do offer some sandwiches and Cherry Hill coffee.
Mill Street Bakery is located in the same building as the Bread on Wheels bakery which, Hlina said, is a little hard to find, tucked in at the back of the Kal Tire parking lot at the corner of Leckie Road and Dilworth Drive.
But, she argues, it’s worth the effort.
“We offer good quality products,” Hlina said. “Most of our stuff is made in-house. It’s all hand-dipped. We put our own rosettes on things. It looks good. It tastes good. It’s not going to break the bank to buy something.
“It’s a whole different concept from what most of the bakeries do. They’re either very upscale or very downscale. We’re medium scale.”
Their pastries sell for $3 to $4, not the $7.95 that some upscale bakeries charge, she said.
They’ve already convinced one neighbour. The nearby Ford dealership bought out all their donuts and muffins on their second day in business.
“We have brownies, bars, cinnamon buns, muffins, cakes – you can buy a birthday cake there that doesn’t taste like it came from a box or has been frozen for a month,” Hlina said. They will do some basic decorating but leave the fancy stuff to others. Their focus is on making good cakes.
“We do have lots of products that nobody else makes,” she said. “We’re an original Dutch bakery so we have European things. We have eclairs and things like that. We make wonderful gluten-less muffins that people love. We have things like flower fruit shells made out of choux pastry that have strawberry mousse in there topped with fruit, lemon tarts and pumpkin tarts in season.”
And, while they may be hard to find the first time, being near the foot of Dilworth Mountain, it’s conveniently open until 5:30 p.m.
“People can stop there on their way home to pick up a pie or cake or pastries for supper or something,” Hlina said.
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