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Vegan, gluten-free Kelowna bakery to be featured in documentary

Jaide Hatfield and Joel Murga, owners of Jaide & Joel’s Baking Co, opened their cafe in Rutland in October 2020.
Jaide Hatfield and Joel Murga, owners of Jaide & Joel’s Baking Co, opened their cafe in Rutland in October 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Jaide Hatfield and Joel Murga

A Kelowna bakery that specializes in vegan and gluten-free goods will be among a handful of local businesses featured in a documentary about businesses surviving the pandemic.

Jaide Hatfield and Joel Murga, owners of Jaide & Joel’s Baking Co will be featured in a Lake City Pictures documentary called Meet Your Makers, which explores how 10 artisans adjusted their business to meet the challenges of COVID-19.

READ MORE: Kelowna couple used pandemic shutdown to rebrand and expand their vegan bakery

For years, the duo rented commercial kitchen space to create tasty treats for businesses around the Okanagan Valley, including Nature's Fare. But it wasn't until they opened their cafe in Rutland in October 2020 on Montgomery Road, they made. a crucial step toward saving their business.

“It’s honestly been a pretty good ride so far. Everyone seems really excited that there’s a vegan and gluten free bakery. A lot of people come in and can’t believe everything is vegan and gluten free,” Murga said.

As word spreads, they're realizing the location is also an asset.

“We honestly didn’t think much of the spot we were going in, we were kind of relying more on our wholesale, but the retail aspect of the bakery has been a busier part than we thought it would be. We didn’t realize how many families were around and how many of our customers were actually in Rutland,” he said.

“There’s not a ton of gluten-free or vegan options around that part of town. It’s mostly the centre of Kelowna or downtown so we get a lot of people (stopping in) on their Costco trips. It’s been nice,” Hatfield said.

With a new deep freezer, they’ll be selling breads and pie shells, and will be expanding into homemade cream cheese as well as other items, she said.

“If we didn’t make the jump, our business probably would have died off,” she said.

During the middle of the pandemic, they were kind of on their "last legs."

"The wholesale part of our business wasn’t making quite enough,” Murga said, adding that if they didn’t make the jump to opening up the store, they might not be in business.

Prior to the pandemic, wholesale accounted for roughly 95% of their business, but the opening of the cafe now takes up about 60% of that, he said.

The couple still wants to grow the wholesale business and eventually wants to make more of their products available to Vernon and Penticton and the Lower Mainland.

In the next year, they hope to focus on increasing the retail side of the business, adding more business products and then hopefully expand their products to Vancouver, Hatfield said.

“We work long days, but if we work hard now, we can rest later,” she said.

The Indiegogo CrowdFunding Campaign will launch Monday, March 15.

For more information on the documentary, visit Lake City Pictures Facebook page or the Lake City Pictures Kickstarter.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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