By Nancy Varekamp, CNews Editor
Eden just got bigger. So did its menu of meals and treats to tempt you.
The Back to Eden 500 – square foot bakery storefront now has a neighboring 1,193-square-foot café that offers breakfast, Sunday brunch, lunch and dinner.
It’s the latest in the ever-growing business for John Blomgren and Garrett Jones. They first opened in 2007 as a wholesale bakery, complete with organic garden, in a house at 58th Avenue and Killingsworth Street.
“By 2009, we realized we wanted a different experience,” John recalled. “We wanted to connect with the community. We wanted to see people enjoy our baked goods.”
They leased the small space that’s now called the Back to Eden Dessert Bar at 2217 N.E. Alberta, and reduced their wholesale sales.
When a building behind the new Back to Eden Café at 2215 N.E. Alberta became available in 2011, they moved the kitchen there.
In 2013, the 3,000-square–foot space behind the original shop became available, and now serves as office and storage space.
Notice the growth spurts are in odd-numbered years?
In 2015, they were asked to join a food cart pod at S.E. 28th Place and Division Street. “It’s more like a shop than a cart,” John said of the wood exterior. That year they also resumed more of their wholesale business.
Each of the three retail outlets carry the same branding, with a pastel color palette that’s clean, quiet and refreshing.
What began with a vegan cupcake and two employees – John and Garrett – in 2007 now tops 40 employees and countless edible offerings.
John – a graduate of the school of hard knocks in managing the accounting, HR and payroll – credits the business’s success to the creativity and innate ability of self-taught vegan baker Garrett.
Five years ago, their response to customer requests for gluten-free products was so successful, they dedicated the kitchen to gluten-free ingredients.
“Everything is equal or better than the original recipes,” John reported.
Catering to customers’ health and environmental consciousness comes naturally to the business owners.
“We source our ingredients carefully and, as a business, we partner with organizations that agree with our environmental, political and social justice perspectives,” John pointed out. “We use our platforms to advocate for people who don’t have their own platforms.”
Has that cost them any business?
“No, we’ve found people want to do business with those who are aligned with their own values. We’ve received a really positive response.”