What it took to grow a thriving food and beverage enterprise.
It was 2010 and Olivier Dutil and Sonja Ratte were hard at work at the Woolsey, behind the scenes in the kitchen. Both trained chefs, they were proving to be a powerhouse team.
“Originally we wanted to open a small bakery/cafe, with organic sourdough bread, nice espresso based drinks, small selection of sandwiches & soups,” says Oliver. “As soon as our business plan was ready we directly went to Community Futures.”
With the help of Community Futures, they put together a five year plan and applied for a loan. They than got to work and started building the now well known La Baguette.
The couple were determined to offer high quality food, and they cut no corners in their preparation and ingredients.
“We kept working at the Woolsey for a few years to insure a steady income. We would see each other in passing. We would wake up at three in the morning to bake fresh bread daily,” Olivier says.
When it comes to running a food and beverage based business, the hours are endless. Even now, several years in, Olivier and Sonia are only away from their business one or two day a week. However, having had careers in the industry, they don’t mind. They knew what they had signed up for.
Their determination and hard work paid off, and La Baguette thrived.
“In 2012 we had the opportunity to open a second La Baguette at the RMR resort. Things were booming,” says Olivier. “In the meantime, at our downtown location we were seeing a lot of people waiting in line to purchase the cheeses and deli items that we were offering. That gave us the ideas of opening a fine grocery store.”
The couple went back to Community Futures and received the financing they needed to open Le Marche. In the same building as La Baguette, people could now purchase cheese, local organic veggies, a comprehensive selection of local meats and deli products, frozen meals from La Baguette, and other speciality products not previously found in Revelstoke.
The enterprise was an immediate hit.
Two years ago, Sonia and Olivier made one last visit to Community Futures when a restaurant, located between the Le Marche and La Baguette, closed down. Olivier and Sonia jumped at the chance to extend the seating area of La Baguette into that space. They also obtained a liquor license and expanded the La Baguette menu with the addition of a wood fire pizza oven.
“We are really happy with how things are going and are very appreciative that Community Futures was there to help us get started,” says Olivier. “We could not have done anything on this scale or this quickly without them and we really appreciate it. We might have more projects coming in the future, and if so we will definitely go see them again if needed. It is such a great service.”
From the food and beverage to the carpentry industry, Community Futures is helping local businesses reach their potential. If you’re an entrepreneur at heart, come in and talk about how Community Futures can help you.