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Little dough needed for a career kneading dough: How to win a B.C. bakery

When B.C. couple Robyn and Shawn Haley decided to retire, they wanted to ensure their plan wasn’t just another half-baked scheme.

Rather than selling their Kamloops business, Erwin’s Fine Baking and Delicatessen—a community staple since 1971, the husband and wife decided to put on a contest to find the rightful owner.

Speaking to CTV Morning Live on Friday, Robyn Haley says the seeds for the idea were planted five years ago, after she read a story about a woman who gave her home away through a contest.

“It gave a family who would never have the ability to afford a home like that the opportunity to have a future there. It really got me thinking, ‘Why couldn’t we do this with a business?’” Haley said.

The contest officially launched in April and the deadline for entries—which each cost $1,000—is July 20, with the possibility of an extension if the minimum of 500 entries isn’t received by then.

Applicants must be aged 19 or older. On top of paying the entry fee, candidates must submit an essay about themselves and why they should win the bakery, which is valued at $395,000.

Once the contest closes, two independent judges will narrow the finalists down to the top 10 before determining the winner and three runners up.

“We’re looking for someone who has business experience, whether it’s transferable from one industry to another, a good support network, drive and the vision to keep this business going for the next 50 years,” Haley said.

She describes the bakery as a traditional, small batch, made-from-scratch bakery, where the ingredients used are ones that most people already have available at home.

While the winner is welcome to change the name of the bakery, Haley cautions against it.

“The name means a lot in this community, so I would think long and hard about changing it,” she said.

As the end of the couple’s ownership nears, Haley says she and her husband are starting to exchange phone numbers with locals and regulars.

“One of the hardest parts for both of us about retiring is stepping away from the customers we’ve become so attached to. Not seeing them is going to be a transition for us,” said Haley.

Anyone interested in putting their name in the baker’s hat can find more information at ownabakery.ca.

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