Sunday, May 3, 2015

About The Second Rising of Downie Street Bakehouse and Bakehouse Bucks

Barb McMahon and Alan Mallioux

The Second Rising of Downie Street Bakehouse and Bakehouse Bucks

 Downie Street Bake House is still the only tenant in their abandoned hotel, so they have room to expand.  Alan Mallioux and Barb McMahon took possession of what will be their new retail space March 1st and they took possession of their new bake space on April 1st. They are planning  be there for a good long time, having just signed a five-year lease with a five-year option to renew.

The Bakehouse recently launched a crowdfunding campaign using the online site Indiegogo, and hoped to raise $20,000 to help with its expansion. The idea originated locally, from Cheesemaker Ruth Klahsen, the owner of Monforte Dairy and Monforte on Wellington. A community-shared baking subscription means more space, additional bread ovens and another walk-in fridge for the bakehouse.

“Mailloux said he liked the idea of giving people an opportunity to contribute directly to the bakery’s success. And it gives our customers a chance to let us know that they like what we’re doing, they appreciate what we’re doing, and they want us to continue to do what we’re doing, he said of the Bakehouse’s artisanal and specialty breads.”

Although their Indiegogo campaign closed on April 15, it is still possible to purchase a Bread Club Membership. A mere $200.00 will buy you a stack of 50 Bakehouse Bucks, in $5 denominations, that can be used in the bakery, or at their stand at the Western Fair Farmer's Market, the Stratford Farmer's Market, the Stratford Sunday Market or the Uptown Waterloo Market.  In return they ask that you redeem your Bakehouse Bucks, one per visit.


 The sale of artisanal premium breads — high quality, hand-crafted and free of artificial additives and preservatives —continues to be on the rise. Alan Mailloux, a trained chef from Stratford Culinary School with nearly 30 years’ experience baking bread, has the skilled hands of a practiced baker who knows how to perfect the ideal crust and crumb. Kneading, long rises, multiple rises and sourdough starters produce complex artisanal, specialty breads of great diversity. The latest incarnation of AlanMalloux and Barb McMahon's baking career, Downie Street Bake House, has allowed them the opportunity to experiment with long and cold fermentation times for their breads (giving better flavour and keeping qualities) and expanding the selection. On offer is a variety of bread baking that includes: Whole Wheat Rye, 12 Grain Sourdough, Plain (not boring) White, French Country, Stratford Sourdough, Walnut Sourdough, Mini Me Miche, Potato Currant, Rye Sourdough, Cinnamon Walnut Raisin, Sour Chocolate Cherry Sourdough and Olive & Oregano.

Mailloux started baking at the age of 24, “when my wife (the lovely Shop Girl) politely suggested that I might want to get a hobby. I was newly married; I thought that I already had a hobby.” They opened their first B&B in Windsor, in Mailloux’s grandparent’s old house on the main street. They did some baking for a local coffee shop in the evenings after Alan finished work at his ‘day job’.

They relocated to Stratford in 1990, so that Mailloux could enroll in the Stratford Chefs School. “Cooking was going to be my thing, but something kept pulling me back to bread making. We had an opportunity to take over the Orbit Bakery in Stratford when it came available in 1993, but thought I needed to practice my cooking instead (so I trained the eventual owner how to make bread) and moved on.”

After cooking around for a couple of years, we ended up back in Stratford in 1996 to open a B&B. Baking bread on Friday nights to sell at the Stratford Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings was going to be a temporary thing to do until the B&B became a success. Instead, the bread making became a success, something we could do year round and that people enjoyed.”

“Our first bakery was located in Sebringville and it suffered from four problems – location, location, location and our impatience. No one wanted to drive five minutes out of Stratford to buy a loaf of bread and we just couldn’t wait for the number of new and good farmers’ markets to sprout up and provide us with an alternative platform for selling our bread from such an obscure location. So we sold up and moved back to Stratford and hunted around for two years to find the ‘right’ next location.”

In 2011, “the right location” became available and the Maillouxes helped the landlord fix it up. Alan was still working with Max Hollbrook at The Parlour at the time. They began to research the area farmers‘markets that have become an integral part of their success.

“The Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market had an opening for a bakery. We applied and were accepted. Our business there has grown by over 50% since we started there two years ago. The Sunday Slow Food Market was also now located in Market Square in downtown Stratford, just behind City Hall. Lindsay Reid, of Lindsay’s Bakery, was kind enough to offer us some of his space at his stall to help us get established. The Garlic Festival and Savour Stratford came soon after we opened and offered us the opportunity to let a whole lot of people know that we were back baking again.”

The Maillouxes have built a stellar reputation as one of the best bakeries in the region. It is no wonder that they share super-hero personas. Alan is Baker Boy and Barb is Shop Girl.

 Downie Street Bake House
388a Downie Street, Stratford

The Bake shop is open:
THURSDAYS: 10:00 AM-4:00 PM
FRIDAYS: 9:00 AM-8:00 PM
SATURDAYS: 8:00 AM-2:00 PM

THURSDAYS: 3:00 PM-7:00 PM (June to October) Uptown Market Square near King and Erb Streets, Waterloo.
SATURDAYS: 8:00 AM-3:00 PM (year ‘round) Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market (900 King Street, London)
SUNDAYS: 10:00 AM-2:00 PM (May to October) Stratford Slow Food Market (downtown, behind City Hall)

Crowd Funding and Culinary Innovation in Stratford

The rise of crowdfunding campaigns highlight how the platforms are emerging as an innovative testing grounds for small businesses. These campaigns have recently emerged as a viable alternative for sourcing capital to support innovative, entrepreneurial ideas and ventures. Several restaurants and food-based establishments in Stratford are now asking their customers and the community to help raise capital.

The idea originated locally from Ruth Klahsen, the owner of Monforte Dairy and Monforte on Wellington. Requiring capital to rebuild her business, she offered her investors a 150 per cent return – as long as they collected it in the form of cheese, dinners or anything else available at Monforte. In just over a year, she raised $500,000. Klahsen has since used a similar program to put a $250,000 down payment on 40 acres of farmland for a "home farm", which is being used for young farmers to start their careers

Six different businesses have employed crowdfunding as an alternative means of financing renovations, expansions, start-ups and new equipment in Stratford. It’s a twist on community shared agriculture, but the concept is similar: supporters essentially pre-pay for future meals or products over a set period of time, often with an additional bonus for doing so.

Madelyn’s Diner, Revel Caffe, Monforte, The Red Rabbit, Wicked Pickle and the Downie Street Bakehouse are among them. 


Here are links to the crowdfunding campaigns: 

· Downie Street Bakehouse:

· The Red Rabbit:

· Revel Caffe:

· Madelyn’s Diner:

· Monforte Dairy:

· Wicked Pickle:

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