Lorraine Pike, owner of Sable Shortbread Company, started baking with her father when she was about 8 years old. After being an avid baker for many years, she decided to start Sable Shortbread Company with her family’s recipe. They now have over 100 flavors of shortbread in their repertoire at their store in Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada. How they’ve used their delicious, buttery cookies to bring happiness at their store despite opening just one week before the declaration of the pandemic.
What inspired you to get into foodservice?
“Baking goes back to my great grandmother who was born in 1865. She raised 15 children and ran her own bakery. She was most known for her pies. Many of her children and grandchildren worked in the bakery and learned to bake. My father was one of the grandchildren who worked for her back in the 1930s. He started out doing deliveries after school when he was about 10 years old. He also learned to make the best pastry, a skill which has now been passed along to a fifth generation. While he didn’t pursue a career in baking, he continued to enjoy baking and I still remember the carousel birthday cake he made for me.”
What do you love about your business?
“I love to create and I love it when a customer finds a new favorite shortbread cookie to love. We have upped shortbread’s game with over 100 flavors in our repertoire, the finest ingredients, a 100% handmade approach and the chance to carry on our family’s baking past.
What are some of your most popular flavors?
“Traditional Shortbread is always a best seller. Our Signature Shortbread is a traditional shortbread cookie topped with our signature vanilla bean buttercream. Our customers love our Earl Grey Shortbread made with real Earl Grey tea leaves baked right in; it is one of our original flavors. Anything lemon is always a hit, but I would have to say that our most requested flavor is Nanaimo Bar Shortbread.
What’s the most interesting thing to happen to your business?
“We’ve had a few great moments. Most notably, we had a visit from the Canada’s Federal Minister of Small Business a while back and this past Christmas we had one of our recipes featured in Chatelaine magazine. We are a majority female owned business; we started the company to create sustainable employment for one of the owners who is a person with a disability.”
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
“We started out selling at farmer’s markets 8 years ago. Two years ago, we opened a brick and mortar location and held our grand opening one week before the declaration of the pandemic and the total shutdown due to Covid. We have survived the pandemic so far and we are now hoping to grow our business and recover from the financial burdens created by two years of restrictions, lockdowns and reduced trade.
It has been hard, with lockdowns and closures and uncertainty walking with us daily, but at the same time there have been many who have been there to help out. It has been a real group effort among all the stakeholders in our small business from family members who have pitched in, customers who have gone out of their way to choose us and suppliers who have worked with us.
People have really rallied around their local businesses during this pandemic and have gone out of their way to support small businesses. I think our cookies are little bit of comfort during these difficult times as they bring joy.”
Which Cambro products help make your business work?
“CamSquares, Cambro clear polycarbonate food serving pans, measuring cups, tongs, shakers and dishwasher racks. Cambro products really make our job easier. From the way they stack together when empty, to the way the lids fit securely and then stack once they are filled; they save so much space. We use the clear Cambro containers for our completed icings and fillings and we also use them to hold ingredients when prepping for the day’s baking. The clear containers allow us to quickly identify what is in them.
We also use containers to hold our baked cookies that are waiting to be packaged. We can store hundreds of cookies in a very small amount of space because of the way they nest and stack. Plus, the tight seals keep things fresh for days, reducing wastage. We have containers we have been using for 5+ years and some that are brand new as we have continually added to our supply as our bakery has grown. They are so durable and long lasting that we can’t tell the new ones from the ones that we’ve been using for years.”