Whether you’re looking for a single-family gingerbread home this holiday season or a whole mixed-use development, a Burnaby bakery likely has what you’re looking for.
“If you look at our website, you can actually do real estate shopping and get, like, a cottage or a Victorian house or a B.C. rancher. There’s also a condo tower,” says Angela Nicholson, owner and founder of Ginger & Bread.
Nicholson calls her business a “special occasion bakery” that puts out themed treats for holidays, including Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween, Valentine’s Day and, of course, Christmas.
Christmas is the main event, and, at Christmas, gingerbread is where it’s at.
“I’m a gingerbread-kit specialist, so my business is around providing unique gingerbread houses and kits,” Nicholson says.
Now in its third holiday season, Ginger & Bread offers an array of options, the most popular being a stubby little cabin dubbed the Sugar Shack.
Nicholson’s favourite is the Winter Cottage.
All the gingerbread buildings come pre-assembled and ready for decorating with mini cookie people, candies and icings.
And the whole thing comes in a gold-ribboned box.
“It’s a really good gift,” Nicholson says.
Prices range from $16 for the Sugar Shack to $65 for the Condo Tower and the two-storey City House.
That might be pricier than your average store-bought kit, but Nicholson describes Ginger & Bread as a “luxury brand” and says people seem to appreciate her attention to detail, whether it’s the quality of the gingerbread (she uses high-quality ingredients, and nothing is ever frozen) or the tasteful presentation of the box.
And, while industrially produced kits may be technically edible, Nicholson says clients have told her hers is the “best tasting gingerbread ever.”
All her treats also come with vegan and gluten-free options, and those who don’t like gingerbread can even order – gasp! – sugar-cookie houses.
Nicholson, who lives in Burnaby’s Highgate area, launched her business in time for Christmas 2020.
“I went crazy in COVID. I was bored,” she says with a laugh.
From the beginning, the business has run out of YVR Prep, a commissary kitchen in the Brentwood area.
Commissaries are rentable commercial kitchens where small business owners like Nicholson can prepare and store their goods.
“They’ve been an absolute asset in me getting rolling,” Nicholson says.
Ginger & Bread’s business model, which sees Nicholson produce the gingerbread houses at YVR and sell them online and at pop-up events, seems to be working out.
From 2021 to 2022, she says he business has already seen 400 per cent growth – and the holiday season is just beginning.
The challenge now is keeping up with demand, even with four other people helping her.
“I had no idea that it was going to become what it’s become,” Nicholson says.
And just who are the people buying her gingerbread wares?
Nicholson says they are people from all walks of life.
This Christmas, Burnaby’s Dageraad Brewing has even partnered with Ginger & Bread to offer Sugar Shacks at their tasting room throughout the month of December.
“Out of all the products I’ve ever dealt with in my life, this is the one that has the furthest reach,” Nicholson says. “I think it’s basically the power of Christmas and that gingerbread is such a classic staple of the Christmas experience.”