"We were all born here and so Edmonton holds a special place for us."
Opened in 2009, Duchess Bakeshop is dedicated to producing world-class pastries in the centre of Edmonton.
We asked Duchess co-owner Garner Beggs some questions about his Edmonton Made business. Here's what he had to say:
When did you start your business and why?
We started in October 2009 after returning from four years living in Japan. We love pastries and wanted to share that with everybody back home in Edmonton.
Why did you start your business in Edmonton?
We were all born here and so Edmonton holds a special place for us. More than that though, Edmonton offered us some distinct business advantages—it's a very, very supportive community for new businesses, especially food-based ones, and that combined with much cheaper rent than Vancouver, Toronto, or even Calgary made it desirable.
What was your biggest challenge in the early days of your business?
Scaling up quickly to meet the unexpectedly large demand.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Maintaining the high standards we've set for ourselves while trying to be as efficient and productive as possible.
Do you have a 'support network'? What does that look like?
We had a group of friends from growing up here and some family members in place when we moved back and have very quickly had a wonderful group of friends and business colleagues coalesce around us in the past eight years.
Is there a piece of advice you would like to pass on to other Edmonton Made businesses?
Be irreproachably honest in everything you do.
Is there an Edmonton Made business you're cheering on?
So many. Corso, Clementine, Canteen, North 53, Color de Vino, Izm, Hunt Amor, Credo, District, to name just a few off the top of my head.
At your size, do you still feel your business is 'Edmonton Made'? In what way?
Absolutely. We're from here, live here, source everything we can from here, and the money we generate stays here.
Anything else you would like to share about your Edmonton Made story?
I feel like Edmonton has offered us an amazing and rare opportunity to not only build a successful business but to also get to have an exciting chance to positively impact the community around us and the city at large. I'm incredibly proud of how far the city has come in the last decade and can't wait to see what the next one has in store.