Québec’s small businesses and their contributions to local communities and across the country are worth celebrating. Here we spotlight St-Viateur Bagel, a family-run business that is proving there are no limits to the entrepreneurial spirit.
Nicolò PiazzaSt-Viateur Bagel
St-Viateur Bagel of Montréal has been baking its famous bagels for over 60 years and is proud to be the longest-running bagel shop in the city. Bagels are still hand-made, boiled in honey water and baked in wood ovens—just as they were on day one.
The family-owned operation has a thriving business in shipping its fresh-baked treats to bagel lovers across Canada.
According to Mr. Piazza, the decision to ship bagels was inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of Québec.
“Montréal and Québec are such unique markets to begin with. The fact that the area is multicultural contributes to lots of international growth potential. Québec also has a highly skilled workforce and entrepreneurs are eager to benefit from this.”
Like every business, St-Viateur Bagel experienced a major sales shift as a result of the pandemic. “Our two urban locations lost sales while our two suburban locations actually gained sales as the workforce switched to working from home.”
Fortunately, the shipping business helped make up for lost tourism dollars.
“Now that our fans cannot visit Montréal, this market has seen the highest growth percentage in our business. We have responded by expanding the area where we make the Canadian orders and we now work with Purolator on a weekly schedule for pick-ups directly to the sorting depot. Fresh bagels are being delivered to their front doors in less than 24 hours after leaving our ovens.”
St-Viateur Bagel has survived and thrived over the past six decades thanks to the support of the communities in which they’re located. The owners believe in giving back whenever possible. “St-Viateur Bagel is a large donor to the Foundation of Stars. We also donate bagels to Sun Youth and to the Share the Warmth Foundation. Recently on a national level, we teamed up with Purolator to sponsor a charity event in Edmonton where we will ship a record 1,440 dozen bagels for the B’nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO) Foundation.”
So what advice does he have for other small business owners?
“The Morena family, who are owners of St-Viateur Bagel, have always reminded me that nothing is ever handed to anyone freely. It must be earned through hard work and sacrifice and mostly without fear. As owners it is important to always choose the right people for the right jobs to avoid setting anyone up within your business to fail.”
Celebrating the Canadian Entrepreneurial Spirit
Canada has no shortage of entrepreneurial spirit, vision and resilience. Canadian small businesses continue to push borders — often provincial borders! — to achieve the success they so richly deserve. We’re proud to celebrate their achievements.
Like St-Viateur Bagel, you may be looking to the online world for the next stage of your business growth. Be sure to check out 10 ways that online shopping trends may have been reshaped by COVID-19.
Note: Opinions and content contained in these submissions are those of the contributors only; and not those of Purolator.