Sarnia’s Junior Baker downtown bakery proves that delicious can also be affordable and good for you tooFeature, Health, Sarnia, Spotlight — By Joe Burd on February 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm
Whether you’ve got a special event like a birthday or anniversary coming up and want to place a special order, or you have food allergies that aren’t easily accommodated, or you just have a sweet tooth for quality baked goods made fresh from scratch, Junior Baker might be just the place to turn.
The homegrown family business has been a hallmark of Sarnia’s downtown core for more than eight years, providing locals and visitors alike with some of the finest cakes, pastries, breads, and desserts that money can buy – at prices that its owners say are affordable.
One of those is Nicole Moore, who has been working alongside her husband John since its doors opened. “We’ve found a balance between providing quality ingredients and pricing that keeps our products affordable and down to earth for the average consumer.”
A testament of the shop’s success may be its very survival.
Even before the launch of Junior Baker, John Moore had already been baking in Sarnia-Lambton for five years, with formal training at longtime Sarnia business William’s Pastry Shop. When the opportunity to start his own business presented itself, Moore did so, opening the doors in December 2003.
Today's concern for natural and nutritious has equipped his wife Nicole with what she says is a great story to tell.
"Not only do we use all of the classic, traditional components of quality baking, but we specialize in all-natural, organic and delicious alternatives free from the common allergens like wheat, nuts, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs."
The couple says the business is quite definitely a success—especially as defined by the satisfaction they get both professionally and personally. "We may not be getting financially wealthy," quips John, "but knowing we're giving our customers quality and value is part of our definition of success."
Nicole agrees. “We’ve grown and feel that putting the customer first is how we’ve achieved any of the success we’ve had.”
Having lived in London for several years, John contends Sarnia-Lambton is the perfect place to raise a family. Prior to donning a baker’s hat, he had a modestly successful career working in the music industry as a musician. Once he and Nicole decided to raise a family, they realized they would need more stability than might be possible as a musician.
For her part, Nicole, born and raised in Sarnia, says she's glad to be home.
"I really appreciate the chance to give back to the community.”
While she's done other types of work, for the most part exclusively outside the world of baking, Nicole says she loves working alongside her husband, especially in the artistic aspects of designing and decorating cakes and other sweet treats.
“The hours are long and the work is challenging, but the rewards are plentiful.”
When it comes to being located downtown, the Moores agree that it’s the perfect location for their family-owned bakery.
“New life is being breathed into the core," says Nicole. "We see new shops opening, and want to be part of the downtown's revitalization and future."
They also say their success as a couple (they've been married 16 years) has a lot to do with working successfully together.
“The kids help out with daily chores and are paid with sweet treats," says Nicole. "Working as a family is very rewarding, and the Junior Baker family is looking forward to many more years serving Sarnia-Lambton.”
When asked what they might recommend for first time customers to the bakery, John said that the freshly baked muffins are always a good bet. Nicole said that the tapioca bread is a favorite and great starting point for those coming into the bakery for the first time – especially for customers who have some type of food allergy.
As for the future, they both want to keep doing what they’re doing, making customers happy by using quality ingredients and catering to everyone.
John said, “We hope to expand and see a better economy bring about more robust business.”
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Junior Baker and try their delicious baked products, do yourself a favor and make the trip soon.