Proprietor of Sweet Truck, Morgan Ray, as she hands off her baked goods to a customer. (Photo courtesy of Avrinder Dhillon Photography)

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach baker eyes move back from food truck to bricks and mortar

Storefront offers more stability amid growth in sales: Ray

Running a mobile bakery isn’t always a piece of cake.

Proprietor of Sweet Truck, Morgan Ray, is looking to expand her bakery on wheels business back to bricks-and-mortar storefront in hopes of expanding and finding stability. Ray runs a mobile commercial kitchen housed in a food truck that specializes in homemade from scratch baked goods with on-site service. A business that has been nominated for three Small Business BC awards in 2021 for Best Innovation, Best Youth Entrepreneur and Premier’s People’s Choice.

“I would love to keep the truck in hopes that festivals and weddings are going to happen again soon. But at this point, I’m like ‘how long am I going to be waiting?'” she said.

Ray previously owned a storefront bakery in Qualicum Beach called Mo’s Minis, but moved to a mobile bakery out of frustration.

“It was always a mad rush to have everything on-site, and going to the middle of nowhere and then forgetting that one thing.”

She came up with the idea of a ‘bakery on wheels’ since many of her orders, at the time, were for weddings and festivals. It was something unique that she hadn’t seen attempted before.

At Christmas, her sales saw an exponential growth as she went from orders for just a few hundred pieces to orders with 1,500 pieces.

“Nobody could do their corporate parties. So they had these huge budgets that they usually spend on hotels and transportation and alcohol and gifts and all these things.”

By Valentine’s Day she was turning customers away after a significant influx, and only had so much space on the truck to work with.

READ MORE: Island Bakery in Cobble Hill to close

“Everything is done on the truck from baking, to cooling, to packaging. Hence, why I need the space.”

However, elbow room and countertop availability is not her only concern with the food truck business.

The majority of recent sales for Sweet Truck were made through delivery orders and not when parked at location. Ray said that parking the truck can be a ‘hit or miss’ opportunity, dependent on weather and diminished by the number of potential customers choosing to stay home.

With the will to keep her business thriving, she started to look at alternatives for her bakery once again. According to Ray, a storefront would offer more stability in terms of business. Another consideration is being exposed to the elements while working out of the truck.

“When we had that cold snap I was out there with my blowtorch trying to make sure my buttercream wasn’t splitting,” she said.

If and when the opportunity arises, the mobile baker may be looking at Parksville instead of Qualicum Beach to set up shop.

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