~Maria Thornton, Owner & Operator, Flour Child Bakery
Where did your love of baking come from?
My Mom! She is the best home baker. I can remember baking with my mom before I was in kindergarten. We would bake everything from butter tarts to English muffins and she makes the best piecrust. Once she made an apple pie with no apples. She used Premium Plus Crackers!
Before I entered grade three, my family and I moved to Cayuga when my parents purchased 10-acres of land. I loved it because we grew our own fruits and veggies so we always had fresh produce that we could bake and cook with. When you know what good food tastes like, how can you not enjoy baking!
Why did you decide to open your own bakery?
I always knew that I would be doing my own thing one day. I am an Accountant (CPA) by profession and I loved it. Although I was working long hours, I was good at what I did and my career became my life. After working so hard for other companies and other people, I needed something for me.
I have always loved to feed people. I love it when some say, “Maria, that was so good!” So now, I can do that on a larger scale and it feels so good. Finally, I am doing something for me!
What makes “Flour Child Bakery” special?
We are a “from scratch bakery” which means we make all our own products and fillings. We hand roll our own croissants, make our own puff pastry, pies and sausage rolls, just to name a few.
We bake for the day, meaning that we make based on demand. If you come at 2pm in the afternoon, we may have run out of the product that you are seeking if we close at 4pm. We try to make enough to have until the end of the day but sometimes we sell out. So to ensure that you get your desired sweets or bread, it’s best to place an order in advance to help us ensure that you are happy! Anything that is left over, we donate to the Burlington Food Bank. Our goal is to reduce waste.
What are some of your most popular items?
There are a few items that we are known for. We focus on European flavours with a strong focus on Eastern European; Hungry, Slovakia, Poland, etc. A few favourites for the English palate are our sausage rolls, eccles cakes and empire cookies. Our dobos torta and walnut or poppy seed rolls are a favourite for our Eastern European clients but everyone loves our fruit and cinnamon danishes and vast assortment or all butter croissants.
What do your customers love most about your food?
That our products are fresh! That our food is full of flavour! We carry some products that are a little harder to find, so I hear many comments such as, “I have seen that in years!”
What has Flour Child Bakery done to help those with specific dietary restrictions?
Well, first, our focus is to be a great bakery that provides a wide range of products. Some of our products are just naturally Gluten-Free, such as meringues, or rice pudding. At this time are not focusing on developing a Gluten-free line. There are a number of great bakeries in the area that can assist you with this product requirement.
For those who have an egg or dairy allergy, there are products that we can make for you easily, just give us a call and we can chat with you about your dietary restrictions.
What do you love most about running a bakery?
When a client tells me, “that it reminds them of how their grandmother made it!” That is such an endorsement for me about the quality of products. I also love that we are truly part of the community of Burlington. It is a great place to be in business, especially one such ours.
You work closely with the Burlington Food Bank. Tell us about that?
Even before I opened the Bakery, I personally have a commitment to work with charities that are focused on Food and Children. I have been involved as either a board member/chair or as a volunteer with a number of Burlington and Halton focused charities.
I started donating to the Food Bank back in 2018. Before Covid19 happened, Burlington has had a need regarding food insecurity. The Covid19 pandemic has just made it more visible. The Burlington Food Bank does an outstanding job getting food to those in need. I have partnered with the Food Bank in part because they are the sole partner with Feed Ontario and Food Banks Canada for the City of Burlington. This means that they have additional oversight into the service provided to the community. This means that all food that is handed out to the Burlington citizen is always fresh – never expired. And there is a mandate in Burlington to serve anyone in need.
If you are in need, please contact them for a confidential and discreet discussion with how they can provide you delivered service during these times.
You opened your storefront a few months ago and then the pandemic hit. How has your business managed through these challenging times?
It has not been the opening that I was planning for.
We did our soft launch on Feb 8th and our Grand opening happened on March 10th. Two days later I watch the Premier of Ontario hold his first live call about canceling the St. Patty’s Parades and starting to restrict the province’s business sector. The next day, we lost all our Farmer’s Markets, which had been our sole source of business up until opening the store.
The past month has been a little more stable as clients and we adjusted to the ever changing landscape of how best to service the customer.
The community has really rallied behind us! Between the Facebook Groups Like “Aldershot Moms” and “Burlington Restaurants – Takeout/Delivery” we have seen customers from all over Burlington. Some of our Farmer’s Market Customers have even made it out from Port Colborne, St. Catharines and Welland. And, yes that speaks to our product. But it also tells me that I made a great decision in calling Burlington my Business’ home.
What does the future hold for Flour Child Bakery?
More products for now! Because of the current pandemic, I have left the product line at the current levels, with a little change or addition here and there. But I have so many more items that I look forward to making and sharing.
Once, more of the business community is able to open, and we see the full return of the customers’ confidence in shopping during these times, there will be many more baked goods to create!
Only Happy Times ahead for Flour Child Bakery!