Editor's note: This is the second in a series of monthly articles focusing on downtown Truro businesses and the people who operate them.
One of the most important attributes of successful business owners is a willingness to change their plans when golden opportunities present themselves. And that's exactly how Vanderpoel's Pastry was born in downtown Truro.
When Gerrit and Irene Vanderpoel first decided to emigrate to Canada from Germany, their plan was to settle in Ontario and open a motel, perhaps serving pastries on the side. But their desire for a quieter pace of life soon brought them to Nova Scotia. And when the motel idea didn't gel, the European pastry business took precedence.
"There were no businesses offering European pastries in Truro, but Gerrit saw the pastry shops in Halifax and was convinced there would be a market here as well," Irene said. "So in December, just two months after moving to Truro, we opened our pastry shop. Then we saw busy German restaurants in Amherst and New Brunswick and decided we should introduce the people of Truro to a German lunch experience, as well."
From a motel business in Ontario to a pastry shop and café in Truro. Those are big changes in plans. But with almost six months under their belt, the couple feels it's been a totally positive experience for all concerned.
"We've already grown from our original concept of just offering pastries and special occasion cakes. A lot of people are excited to try new things," Irene said. "And many people in this area have been in the military and enjoyed German food before, so they're happy to get reacquainted with it."
The addition of a lunch menu came from customer demand with favourites including schnitzel, offered with a variety of different sauces and curry sausage and soups.
And in recent weeks, more dining options have been added at the Prince Street location.
"People have been asking for breakfast, so we've expanded our menu again," Irene said. "One of the traditional German offerings is ‘strammer max' - eggs with bacon and cheese."
And the pastries? German cheesecakes, European cream puffs, delectable little melt-in-your-mouth cookies...truly irresistible! And their fresh-baked multigrain German sourdough bread is delicious.
Beautiful special occasion cakes are a specialty - for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, holidays or just because. Gerrit has 20 years experience in the cake business in Germany so if you can dream it, he can make it.
Opening a food business here hasn't been as big an adjustment for the couple as one might imagine. Gerrit has also worked as a cook on a boat in France, and many of the recipes are Irene's own family favourites.
"We're glad that we can combine some elements of our German background with our new life in Truro."
That new life has been both rewarding and enjoyable so far. Their two teenage children, Daniel and Mike, have settled in well and all have made new friends.
"We think Truro is a good place to live because it is central and the people are friendly and helpful," Irene said. "We haven't had much time yet to discover all that the area offers, but it's nice to know that skiing and the beach are both close by."
Their change of plans is definitely Truro's good fortune. Stop by and find out for yourself. Guten Appetit!
TAGLINE: Grace Murray is the promotions and marketing co-ordinator of the Downtown Truro Partnership, an organization representing the interests of the downtown business community since 1979 and the driving force behind many of the development and promotional activities that occur throughout the year.