A Recipe for Long-Term Success

The alluring aromas of fresh bread, doughnuts and artisanal pastries have been wafting through the town of Invermere since Quality Bakery opened in 1956. Over the decades, the bakery has changed hands a couple of times, and been redubbed the Invermere Bakery. Most recently, in 2021 it became the property of its now-current owner, Theo Walta—a dream fulfilled with help from the Trust.

Originally from the Netherlands, the Invermere Bakery was the first place that Walta had worked in Canada, back in 1998. Now the baker and pastry chef saw this as a chance to return to the business and town he had loved. “After living and working in the Okanagan Valley for many years, I was inspired to buy the bakery partly because I love the Invermere community,” he says.

His second reason was that he hoped to own a business he could one day pass on to his son. “I’m not a spring chicken anymore, so I considered what I’d need to run a business into the future. Fortunately, my eldest son Travis was training as a baker, so I thought it could work if he ended up taking over.”

Financing from the Trust was the essential ingredient—offered to support the succession and sustainability of a long-standing Invermere business, while also creating income to go toward the Trust’s delivery of benefits in the Basin.

With funding in hand, Walta was able to buy the bakery, and Walta says the Trust’s “continued support and interest in the bakery has been so helpful.” Now, his focus is on prioritizing strategic financial decisions while striking a balance between work, life and family. But passion and love for the trade are truly what pushes him forward.

“A bakery needs your heart behind it,” Walta says. “If you put love into what you do, it keeps you motivated every day, and then it’s easier to take on the challenges. I’m so blessed to have experienced production staff, as well as a customer-oriented retail team, who all put heart into their work. They inspire me to do whatever it takes to keep this business going.”

The whole family helps run the bakery: Walta’s wife takes care of administrative and accounting duties, his two younger sons lend a hand and Travis’s girlfriend manages the retail store. They’re currently working on becoming a gluten-free-certified facility because that’s the future of baking, according to Walta, and an integral part of putting his customers’ needs first.

“My biggest trophy is having customers come through my door,” says Walta. “There's no better reward!”