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Germania Bakery Challenges in Steveston Village


Sam Salmon
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While in Steveston Village a few hours ago I was Pleased to see a new Bakery opening up.

The facade looks much like Kitsilano's beloved Transilavania-wood shingles with flags flying proud-although much larger.

The inside is similar as well with a large brick wood burning oven glowing and fresh baked bread on the counter.

Imagine my surprise when I found the place Closed! :blink:

A closer examination found that the City of Richmond has slapped a Stop Work Order on the Germania Bakery for being 'non-conforming'.

Click Here for the sad story

It's a difficult situation what this historic neighbourhood under siege from developers-the British store/Bakery building is about to be bulldozed for more condos and that's not all.

The Good News is that the Owner hasn't given up-as I said the oven is going and fresh bread is almost within reach.

Hopefully all he'll have to do is head over to Pacific Net and Twine buy some buoys/manila rope and drape them around in a fire safe fashion.

Then there'll be another great reason to cycle out to Steveston on mild afternoons. :cool:

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So I read the post and was ready to take to the battlements with you Sam (you bring the boiling oil, I'll bring the Laugavulin), when I chose to read the article linked. The city doesn't seem to have issue with the nature of the business, nor the fact that it doesn't comply with the spirit of the village, that's all a red herring thrown out by the supporters. The whole indepedent angle vs. monolithic chains isn't what the city has issue with and is denying permits for at all. It's denying permits becuase the fascade doesn't comply with design guidlines from the area plan. Yes Steveston is a twee shell of it's former self. Yes the McDonalds is a blight on the community, (except for when you're at the playground with kids and the bathrooms at the community are locked for no good reason, again. Thanks Ron.) But if the headstrong owner would ask the planning deaprtment for some design guidelines, this could all be unpleasant history.

And as a West Richmond resident, I say bring on the new bakery. I've mentioned it here before, (and can't be arsed to search it out,) but the south end of #1 road is becoming a very good independent grocery vendor street. I even like the Steveston Super Grocer across Moncton.

And Steveston residents are the most irritating nimby assholes in the city.

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And Steveston residents are the most irritating nimby assholes in the city.

As a Steveston resident, I'll just ignore the gratuitous insult, and say yes, bring on the bakery. Talking to the owner, it isn't even design guidelines that he violated, he needed to apply for permits and stuff to renovate. He's a recent immigrant and didn't know. I was most pleased to hear that he has hired a builder to handle the stuff for city hall. He says it won't be long now - of course he was saying the same thing back in September.

The building by the way was for years the Marine Grocery, complete with a meat counter with a real butcher and penny candies. I spent a couple of summers pumping gas (across the street and up a ways at the Texaco) - I won't reveal how long ago that was - but the Richmond Danish Bakery was still around, and the NIMBY people were still afraid to live where the odour of the canneries wafted.

------------------------

to taberu is to ikiru

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Talking to the owner, it isn't even design guidelines that he violated, he needed to apply for permits and stuff to renovate. He's a recent immigrant and didn't know.

I call bullshit. Where did he immigrate from where a business doesn't require permits to renovate? I'd understand if he was used to bribing officials and ended up all red-faced because the nice city official wouldn't take his Borden offering. But "I didn't know you needed a permit"?

Sounds like he tried to cut corners and got caught. Tsk tsk.

And I'm with Keith on the nimby comment. Steveston only just barely nudges Kelowna out of first place.

A.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back in Steveston yesterday I was fortunate to run into Nikolai-the owner of the bakery.

Turns out the similarity between the new Steveston operation and the one on Broadway isn't accidental-he started Transilvania and sold it to Florin-now he wants to work in Steveston with a somewhat simliar range of products.

It's apparent when talking to Nikolai that Richmond bureacrats aren't in any way business friendly-it's all about power and making people jump through tiny tiny hoops.

They've even gone so far as to make him cover up any evidence that bread has ever been baked in the place! :rolleyes:

If you're at all interested in seeing this sort of operation ever get off the ground Please email the Mayor in Richmond mayorandcouncillors@richmond.ca and ask them to expedite the agonising and barricade laden process.

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  • 2 months later...

The Romania Bakery is now open, EU flag flying high. (Why exactly I don't know.) Went in this afternoon. Quick tip to the newbie Canadian, remove the sign that says "We are not open for business" from the front door, it'll help draw in the walkby crowd. Talked to the owner, an eccentric and completely passionate man. A real plus to the neighbourhood. He showed us everything, he was justifyably proud of his operation. Bought a loaf. Four pounds, ten bucks. Which may not fly in Steveston. As he puts it, Cobbs sells one pound loafs for 4.50, so his bread is a bargin. Sadly most people like the candy floss shit at Cobbs, so that going to be a problem with the business model.

Ate the bread with dinner. Okay some of it, theres still a heel the size of the OED in the kitchen. It's excellent. Dense, chewy and flavourful with a crust that could damage knives. I really hope he succeeds, it's a superb product he's turning out. I'd like to taste slightly more influence from the wood oven in the finished good, but that's my only criticism.

I wish him well and hope my fellow West Richmondites don't disappoint me by rejecting this mans vision and superior product.

Maybe I'll take the rest of the loaf down to the local Cobbs tomorrow, sample patrons walking in with it. His best bet for long term survival is to get the product into Herringers which is always busy and (against all odds) attracts a clientele willing to pay for quality.

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I wish him well and hope my fellow West Richmondites don't disappoint me by rejecting this mans vision and superior product.

Hi fellow W.Richmondite. I have been watching, albiet not as closely as some, the opening of the new bakery. My hope was that the product would be similar to Transylvanian, but with not so much of a heel or bottom crust. Yes, I was fearing for the tip of my knife. What I WAS able to consume of the Trans. loaf was wonderFUL! Unfortunately, a $10 loaf of bread is not going to become a staple on my kitchen table. I don't even get the one pound loaves at Cobbs, because it spoils long before we can finish. OK, I'll admit, if the loaf gets into the freezer, no one here looks at it again except me.

I wonder whether Nikolai would consider baking half lb. loaves for $6?

You're totally right about getting into Herringers. What do you think of the additions to the product line at both Herringers and Papi's Market?

Karen Dar Woon

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I believe he'll sell a half loaf. At least he had half loaves cut and they appeared for sale.

And what are the additions at Herringers?

And totally unrelated to food, wine or anything else Germaine to this board, Steveston Super Grocer has multi-stemmmed orchids for 22 bucks. That's and excellent buy. Single stem plants are 19. Pick up some bread and flowers toninght.

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ok kids we need excuses to come to Steveston ... this weather is not drawing us in.

At Transylvania you can buy a half loaf for $5.00 always been this way. It is better for those of us freshness freaks.

Enjoy your newfound good bakery and do your best to keep it alive until summer when more of us travel to Richmond for provisions !

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