BROOKFIELD, N.S. – Brookfield senior citizens were very helpful when I recently inquired regarding the history of the Brookfield Bakery.
A couple of local residents recalled the bakery once being located in the large Roy Hamilton house, near where the bakery is today. The house, lived in years later by the VanIderstine
family, was eventually tore down.
Jackie Burnett researched Don Henderson writing about the bakery and owners Doug, Cecil and Walter Crouse in the 1946 Brookfield Men’s Club Eagle.
Both Shirley Comeau and Marilyn Stewart recalled babysitting for the next owners, the
Mackenzie family. Rex and Ida Cooke became the bakery owners in the early 1950s, their son
Robbie Cooke and his wife Joanne followed.
These days, Joanne Cooke and daughter Heidi are the operators. Upon entering the bakery,
customers enjoy the sight of fresh-baked bread, cookies, brownies, donuts, pies and numerous other goodies. People visit the bakery from Truro, Halifax, Musquodoboit, New Glasgow, Amherst and other Nova Scotia points. Brookfield residents and area people drop in repeatedly. Besides an outstanding product, an exceptional staff reaches out to approaching customers.
Smiling often, the ladies behind the counter display harmony and teamwork.
Last week for ‘Your Stories,’ an interview was arranged with Brookfield Bakery employees.
“I came to Brookfield Bakery approximately 10 years ago,” Tammy Wing, of Brentwood, said. “I still remember my first day, I was terrified to cut the brownies, I was afraid I wouldn’t get them just right. I soon fit right in, working here grows on you. Joanne and Heidi are wonderful people to work for, our staff are hard workers and we all get along well together.”
According to Wing, customers share comical remarks on a regular basis and most days provide happy, unpredictable moments.
“There are four hens and a rooster that wander over to the front of the bakery from Horse Play Stables. They enjoy being around the front doorstep and sometimes they get up on the flower boxes and look in the window. Customers just love them, they take pictures with them. I remember one customer took his friend’s lunch and fed it to the hens and the rooster. Another guy cut up his apple and shared it with them.”
Shannon McLellan, of Middle Stewiacke, has worked at the bakery for close
to three years.
“I enjoy my job as part of the store front,” the mother of two teenage children said. “Every morning when I wake up, I never regret going to work. Customers put a smile on your face on a daily basis. There’s definitely harmony and teamwork among employees. For a business to work and grow, there has to be a friendliness among staff. We work in close quarters, we’re quite busy at times, but we handle things quite well. I think it helps that we’re just like family. To
me, the bakery is definitely an upbeat place to work.”
Lindsay Holman, a two-year employee from Upper Stewiacke, said she especially enjoys the friendly customers.
“You see a lot of these customers on a regular basis, it adds to the enjoyment of working at Brookfield Bakery. Heidi and Joanne are the best people I ever worked for and I can’t say enough about the staff. Some of us have friendships outside the business. One of my favourite times is Christmas time and our Christmas party. We bring our families and the kids get to decorate cookies.”
Steven Cook is a baker. After 39 years at the bakery, he knows a lot about bread, rolls and cookies.
“I enjoy my work and meeting new people,” Cook, who has a hearing impairment, wrote. “I enjoy laughter when something funny happens. My problem is communication, I wish all people would learn sign language. Besides working, some of my interests over the years have been fishing, hunting, darts, curling, swimming and poker.”
The bakery has employed numerous students over the years, some for the summer and others part-time during the school year. Anna Hamilton, of Brookfield, a grade 12 student at South Colchester Academy, has worked at the bakery for about two years. Familiar to many people through music, Hamilton plays the bass, saxophone, piano and guitar.
“I really enjoy working here at the Brookfield Bakery,” Hamilton said. “I’ve enjoyed learning about the business and meeting new people. It has all been a
Lyle Carter’s column appears every second week in the Truro News. If you have a column idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.