Advertisement

N.B. bakery owner scrambling to stay in community as rent skyrockets

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick bakery owner scrambling to stay in community as rent skyrockets'
New Brunswick bakery owner scrambling to stay in community as rent skyrockets
WATCH: New Brunswick bakery owner scrambling to stay in community as rent skyrockets – Feb 26, 2022

A long-standing bakery in a New Brunswick community is scrambling to stay in town.

Family-run Village Square Bake Shop, located in Grand Bay-Westfield, N.B., was recently told their rent would triple.

“We need to find a new home,” said owner Stuart Howe.

Howe took over the bakery a little over a year ago from his parents, and with skyrocketing rent, he’s nervous.

“The lease mom and dad signed is up for renewal in June and I’ve been speaking to the landlord about what he was thinking,” Howe said.

“When the rent increase came in it was around triple what we’re paying now.”

Story continues below advertisement
Stuart Howe, owner of Village Square Bake Shop, located in Grand Bay-Westfield, N.B., is struggling to keep his business in the community as his rent is set to triple. Travis Fortnum

Currently paying about $700 a month for the space, Howe says the landlord wants to spike it to nearly $2,200.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

“We simply can’t afford it,” he said.

Howe suspects this is purposely pricing the bakery out, but he has no hard feelings towards the landlord.

“I’ve gone on and defended him on Facebook, people getting very angry at him. There’s no need of that,” said Howe. “It’s just business and he would like the place for himself.”

The bakery has been in place since at least the 1950s, according to Howe.

“The tradition of a bakery here, it goes way way back,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Jeremy Rodden, an 18-year-old employee, first started working at Village Square Bake Shop for a summer job.

“I remember my dad used to always buy some of these donuts, or even the filled donuts, and it was always the best day ever when he came home with those donuts.”

“They’re delicious. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d actually be making them.”

Jeremy Rodden says he thinks he’s made more than 150,000 donuts in the past year and a half. Travis Fortnum

A year and a half into working there, Rodden estimates he’s made more than 150,000 donuts.

“I’m actually the head donut maker. I’m very proud of that title.”

But news of the drastic rent increase is troubling him.

“Word spread like wildfire. A few customers would come in and just talk to us with stories about how they used to come here a long time ago, how they’re so sad that it might be closing,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

The bakery is now looking for a new space in the Grand Bay-Westfield.

“We don’t want to leave Grand Bay at all,” Howe said.

“If we could find a suitable spot, and that’s difficult in this community, we’d love to stay.”

Rodden agreed, adding the bakery is a vital part of the community.

“It’s been here longer than most of us have been, so it’s not going to easily go out the door.”

Sponsored content

AdChoices