Life is sweet for Jen Fowler and Gabriela Schoch.
The two operate Sweet Leaf Bakery & Cafe, which opened in the Mall at Piccadilly on Nov. 22. The business was inspired by Fowler’s baking.
Schoch explained she and Fowler worked together prior to opening Sweet Leaf.
“Jen would come in with fabulous baking all the time and we were just eating this and one day basically said we should open up a bakery…,” said Schoch. “Her baking is just too good to keep from the public and there was high demand and we started doing our homework.”
The two had wanted to open a bakery in Salmon Arm’s downtown, but a location wasn’t available. A space was available at the mall, and with Starbucks closing its mall store to move across Highway 1, Schoch and Fowler saw an opportunity for a bakery/cafe.
Research for the bakery cafe involved visits to similar establishments in Kelowna. Schoch and Fowler decided on a European-style bakery with unique offerings.
“We tried to stay away from what everybody else had, not getting into pies, not getting into cinnamon buns,” said Schoch.
A photographer in the Shuswap for 15 years, Fowler was ready for the transition, explaining she is a self-taught baker who is in her comfort zone when in the kitchen.
“I think there was always little waves of ‘What are we doing?,’” said Fowler of the new venture. “But I think we’ve always been excited for the adventure of it and it’s something that our community needs.”
Schoch and Fowler endeavour to use locally sourced fresh ingredients for the cafe and Fowler’s mouth-watering creations, which include everything from cookies, cupcakes, muffins and macarons, to elaborate cakes. Par baked baguettes, sourdoughs and other bread items provided by Two Donkeys Bakery of Kelowna are finished fresh daily. The coffee beans are locally roasted.
Regarding cakes, in addition to what is for sale at the cafe, Fowler also accepts orders for custom creations.
Asked about the name, Sweet Leaf, it’s what Schoch and Fowler decided on after one of Fowler’s daughters (who help out at the cafe) designed a logo for the business, which includes a green circle with leaves on the top left.
“We based this off of the tree of life and the family tree and the fact that it’s a family-run business and instead of having a tree in our name, we thought we’d take a part of that, ” said Fowler. “And since we’re based on sweet things, Sweet Leaf.”
The Sweet Leaf Bakery & Cafe is open Tuesday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit Sweet Leaf’s Facebook page.
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