While most of us are sound asleep, bakers at Glamorgan Bakery are hard at work crafting the tasty bread and treats Calgarians have grown to love.
By 3 a.m., the kitchen lights of the Richmond Road building are on, the ovens are heating up, and the dough is being kneaded.
The front-of-house staff comes in around 5 a.m. to start packaging the iconic cheese buns and other baked goods.
Six days a week, the doors open at 7 a.m. for a day filled with fresh-baked aromas, custom cake decorating, smiling staff, and plenty of satisfied customers.
That’s how it’s been at Glamorgan Bakery since 1977 and exactly what the new owners — the Brouwer family — vow to continue.
Continuing a 45-year legacy
Don Nauta and Rudy Bootsma bought the bakery 45 years ago and the Nauta family eventually took it over.
Baking continued to run in Bootsma’s family. His son had a bakery in Rocky Mountain House where Corrin Brouwer and her husband Philip grew up.
Brouwer recalls enjoying many items from the bakery, not realizing at the time how serendipitous it would be.
“We were familiar with the products from the bakery in Rocky Mountain House where we grew up. So, we kind of had the connection there to Glamorgan Bakery with similar items that we grew up eating as kids,” Brouwer says.
She and Philip were married in 1999 and moved to Calgary. For the past 13 years, they have lived in Glenbrook — just north of Glamorgan.
Brouwer says her husband was working in the engineering field doing heat trace design in the oil industry but had been thinking about a career change for some time.
“He’s always wanted to be a business owner,” she says, adding he also loves to bake.
“We reached out to the previous owners [of Glamorgan Bakery] and had a chat with them. And then Phil actually started working at the bakery for a while as a baker and trying to get a good feel for the business.”
The Brouwers and Nautas eventually came to an agreement and a two-year transition of ownership began in May 2021, with the latter assisting with baking and consultation behind the scenes.
Maintaining the traditions
Brouwer says their goal is for Glamorgan Bakery to continue as a family-owned business and follow the same passion and work ethic as the Nauta family.
“We just wanted to continue on with their passion, their hard work, doing the same recipes, and being that community-focused business that we knew them for,” Brouwer says.
“That’s one of the things that drew us to Glamorgan… their involvement in the community.”
Brouwer says many Texas donut fundraisers from local schools come through the bakery, which is important for her family to carry on.
“Our goal is for the legacy of the bakery to continue — the quality, the reasonable prices. The everyday baking for everyday families isn’t changing.”
Cheese bun lovers can rest assured they are still the same soft and savoury treat customers have come to know and love.
Brouwer also recommends the brownie tray — her husband’s go-to — and her personal favourites: the spiced almond tart and chocolate chip bun.
“It’s the same dough as the cheese buns but instead of cheese, they have lots of chocolate chips in them. So again, another very sweet, tasty treat.”
Along with the tried and true mouth-watering recipes, Brouwer says maintaining the family atmosphere is also crucial.
A family affair
“It’s just the family feel of the bakery,” she says, adding it carries over into the employee base.
“Their friends work there, their siblings work there, or their children work there with them.”
In fact, all three Brouwer children also work at Glamorgan Bakery. Their oldest son is in the carpentry field so he helps with maintenance, their other son is a part-time staff member, and their daughter worked there ahead of starting university.
Brouwer says small local businesses are important to the economy and they are thankful for the support of the community since taking the reins.
“Especially through COVID and moving forward… we feel the support of our customers and we are so appreciative of that.”
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