Buns will continue to rise at the Qualicum Beach Bakery thanks to a little help from the local metal shop teacher and his students.
Husband and wife team Helena and Peter Schneider found themselves in a pickle last month, when one of the parts in their oven broke.
“I was devastated,” said Peter. “The oven is the heart of a bakery — without this we are done.”
Peter said he was sitting on his front porch looking devastated one morning, when his neighbour, local Acting Superintendent Rollie Koop, came to see what was wrong. Peter explained that a part for the oven would have to be flown in and would take up to a week to arrive, putting him out of business for the duration. Koop said he’d see if the school metal shop might be able to help out.
Rob Gibbs, metal and automotive technology instructor at KSS, was confident he could help. The part came from a wheel inside the oven which made the racks stay level when rotated.
After inspecting the oven and looking at pictures, Gibbs had Grade 9 students assist him as he demonstrated how to make the piece. Fifteen-year-old Michael Lozier-Tilkin said it was neat to be involved in helping the bakery.
“We’re in Grade 9 so this has never really happened to us that we needed to help someone with an actual piece that a company needs,” he said.
Gibbs took the part to the bakery and installed it after school, and it worked a treat.
Gibbs said he and the students have helped other businesses in the area before doing odd jobs like making signs or car parts, either at cost or for free.
Helena said she and Peter were “beside [themselves] surprised” that the school was able to come to their aid.
“I grew up in a small town so I understand small towns and the miracles that they work, but I would never have thought to call the school and say, can you help us out?”
Helena took a large box of fritters to the school to thank Gibbs and the students and was told no further compensation was necessary, as the bakery gives special deals to students and has also provided lunches to hungry kids.
Fourteen-year-old student Ayden Holme was thrilled with his bakery treats and said it was a pretty cool experience. Lozier-Tilkin agreed.
“I felt helpful, ” he said, “feels good.”