Food Notes for December 13, 2021

Pandemic Shift for Confetti Sweets Becomes Permanent

Confetti Collective, which started as a pandemic-era side business for local bakery Confetti Sweets, has become a permanent fixture of the company’s brick and mortar shop in Sherwood Park thanks to a warm embrace by customers. Ubiquitous at Edmonton-area farmers’ markets for well over a decade, Confetti Sweets opened up a storefront in Sherwood Park back in 2014. In early 2020 owner Kathy Leskow decided to significantly expand, not knowing a pandemic would soon derail her vision.

“We actually took a big risk and tripled our space with leasing another bay in February 2020,” said Leskow. “To earn revenue for the extra space, we had plans to launch a birthday party program and to open a cafe style concept. COVID became a thing one month later and our plans were put on hold.”

Vendors that had become her “market family” thanks to years of selling alongside them at farmers’ markets had an uncertain future in those initial months after things shut down. “Farmers’ markets had no idea whether they would be able to continue as usual,” said Leskow. “In April 2020 I invited about 15 of them to sell in our space, and it grew from there. Now we have over 50 brands in our store.”

Leskow noted that while this side business was originally a part of the Confetti Sweets umbrella, with so many new products coming into the store and taking over their social media, they eventually decided to spin the effort out into a separate entity called Confetti Collective.

The Collective doesn’t charge the vendors any ongoing fees. “We typically purchase at wholesale prices and sell for retail prices,” said Leskow. “This pays for space in the store and any collective marketing we do. There are no other costs for vendors.”

The growth of their product catalogue, available both in store and through delivery, has been somewhat organic. Customers have requested specific items, and Leskow is also open to housing additional items. “We love new brands,” said Leskow. “They have to be produced in a commercial kitchen, and we try to have a good variety.  For example, we have a great Mexican variety so we won’t take on any more Latin foods at this time.  We do our best to support the brands that have helped us grow.” She shared that some of the most popular items include El Gringo chips, Kick Ass Caramels, Auntie Jean’s Fudge, KGW Popcorn, Chocolicious, and Sherwood Park Soups.

The Collective has been a win-win for Confetti Sweets. “Our average customer spend has doubled if not tripled in the past two years,” said Leskow. “If customers do come in for just a quick dinner solution from the freezer, they usually end up grabbing at least one cookie.”

While Confetti Collective was unplanned, Leskow enjoyed the challenge, and is grateful for the community support. “I kind of went from running a bakery, to running a grocery store, and I am still learning,” said Leskow. “The growth of this ‘side business’ has been super exciting. You don’t know how special it is when we start placing larger and larger orders with these local companies. It truly makes their day!”

Openings

Upcoming Events

  • I’m looking forward to Edmonton’s first Winter Promenade event on December 19, 2021 from 11am-4pm at 116 Street & 100 Avenue. There will be food trucks, among live entertainment. It’s been years since we organized a What the Truck?! on Victoria Promenade, but looking back, that was always one of our best locations.

Local News

Beyond Edmonton

What I Ate

This will be my last Food Notes until the new year. Thanks to everyone for reading, and a safe and happy holidays to you and your loved ones!

  • I am definitely a creature of habit, and when I find a dish I love at a restaurant, it takes a lot for me to stray from that favourite. That’s definitely the case with the fried instant noodles with minced pork at Gui Lin. There’s no other place I’ve found with this dish, which holds up particularly well as take-out (and tastes great as leftovers). It’s definitely worth the trip out to Chinatown.
  • Gui Lin

Fried instant noodles with minced pork from Gui Lin

  • We wouldn’t make it out to St. Albert very often, but when we did, a stop at Jack’s Burger Shack was a must. Now, we have our very own Jack’s a block away from our home in #yegdt! We grabbed dinner there over the weekend – their hangover style buns (two grilled cheese sandwiches instead of bread) are a must, and we love their poutine. We’ll be back again soon!
  • Jack’s Burger Shack

Our Jack’s Burger Shack order

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