Can a delectable cinnamon bun serve a greater purpose than satisfying a sweet tooth? It can when it’s served up at the city’s newest hot spot: Nanaimo Bakery and Café.
The longstanding Nanaimo Bakery and Confectionery is being reimagined and reopened by Rising Hope Services Inc., a subsidiary of the Island Crisis Care Society, and it is definitely a business with a social purpose.
Island Crisis Care Society was formed in 1989 by two men who saw a need to respond to the homelessness issue, and today it offers 12 programs across seven sites aimed to meet the needs of people who have experienced homelessness and other challenges. “It’s a complex issue involving layers of pain,” says Elspeth Erickson, ICCS Development and Communications Manager. “Our aim is to be agile enough to evolve and create innovative programming that addresses those needs.”
Last week, the Nanaimo bakery threw open the doors on its updated space – one that supports innovative ICCS programming in a sustainable way by providing connection and employment opportunities for those in the community who have experienced homelessness and may have been marginalized.
“The social purpose or intent of the company is threefold: to roll back profits into creating new and innovative programs, to support Project Rise by offering work placement opportunities to some of its participants, and to provide a welcoming space where people can connect,” Elspeth says.
The decades-old bakery wants to remain faithful to their longstanding customers, but also create a place for all ages and walks of life to come together.
“The reopening of the bakery is exciting, but we hope to have an impact on the community in a much wider way,” says Corrie Corfield, ICCS Assistant Executive Director. “The vision is for the cafe itself, which is a big space, to have a new identity as a place for a diverse range of people to gather, chat and build community!”
Head Chef Joshua Nelson II is proud to present a new menu that boasts items with a new and delicious twist. Some of the delectable offerings include avocado toast with sweet potato chutney, and a breakfast sandwich with fresh-baked English muffin. The bakery also offers traditional breads and pastries, as well as a new cinnamon bun that Chef Josh says will keep customers coming back for more.