Burnaby's Valley Bakery reopens to shock, delight of locals
The Valley Bakery will retain much of its classic cookies and cakes, but some new additions are on the way
Customers pay for baked goods at The Valley Bakery on Aug. 25, 2023. This was the first day under new management.📸 Ria Renouf.
If you’ve been closely following the story of the decades-old Valley Bakery in The Heights, you may know the smell of fresh bread, sugar, and daily-baked pastries wafting from 4058 Hastings St. was set to come to an end on Aug. 19 after owner Jack Kuyer announced his retirement, having given more than 40 years to the shop.
But as people walked by on Friday morning, they were stunned to see the doors weren’t permanently shuttered after all. The Beacon previously reported that the shop was not closing, after Eagle-eyed readers sent a photo of a sign posted in the window, welcoming new management.
📸Here's a photo I snapped from The Valley Bakery's window this morning. There will be new management as of Friday, Aug. 25.
— Ria Renouf 🍩 (@riarenouf)
Aug 20, 2023
“Oh snap, they’re open! I thought they were closed,” remarked one person to another as they strolled along the sidewalk immediately outside the bakery.
As they—like others—stepped inside, the chorus was much of the same. People stood around, surprised to see the display cases semi-filled with cakes, pastries, sausage rolls, lemon squares, strudel…and yes, even those little cookies with the circle of pink icing in the centre. Turning your head ever so slightly, the wooden shelves housed cinnamon buns, packs of banana chocolate chip muffins, and freshly sliced bread.
“I thought you were closed,” an older woman asked one of the workers, holding out her debit card to pay for some bread. The front store staff hadn’t changed: familiar faces were still clad in their classic Valley Bakery uniforms, consisting of white hats and burgundy aprons.
“Nope,” replied one worker from behind the counter, “we have a new owner.”
Who is the new owner?
Speaking to the Burnaby Beacon, Kamy Ebrahimkhani says his uncle will be taking over the more than 60-year-old bakery. Ebrahimkhani says the family has quite a bit of experience running similar spaces, including the Monaco Cafe in Vancouver’s Gastown.
Like the patrons who spent years walking in and out of the bakery, falling in love with sweets and breads, Ebrahimkhani and his uncle experienced the same. He used to live in Vancouver (he now lives on the North Shore) so anytime he knew he’d be near The Heights, a trip to The Valley Bakery was mandatory.
"I [would come] here with my friend, but our common friends and my uncle know this place. We were customers of this place. Everyone knows this place. [My uncle] and Jack, their future goals kind of matched up together,” he told the Beacon, adding that part of expressing interest in purchasing the bakery was out of love and appreciation for it.
His favourite classic Valley Bakery item? Pretty much any of their breads. “I love how they make it, and now I’ve [been able to] see how they make it. Of course,” he adds with a smile, “all the cakes are good too!”
Ebrahimkhani says the team will strive to keep things as familiar as possible, but you may see some changes. As an example, the cake displays had some new offerings on Friday morning, including a glossy chocolate raspberry cake—complete with a chocolate sponge and fresh raspberries, of course—and a mocha cake that included bananas, walnuts, and white sponge inside. At some point, the new team would like to serve beverages—akin to what you’d find at Monaco—but that would require some changes, so they’re taking their time.
“[Jack] did a really good job at having a lot of rarities and I think they have had more than 400 items [to be able to choose from]…they’ve been consistent and the pricing is really reasonable…[we want to] try to keep it reasonable, for everyone to afford it.”
Ebrahimkhani understands that the community is anxious to see how this next chapter will pan out as they look to keep the bakery going, but he hopes customers—whether from Burnaby or beyond—will give them a chance.
“It’s going to continue as it used to,” says Ebrahimkhani, “but our new changes, hopefully they’ll like them, too.”