After combining with the unit next door, the interior of Pure Bliss is now twice the size it once was. // Photo by Hailey Hoffman
By Kayla Sousa
Andi Vann, owner and baker at Pure Bliss Desserts, stands in the kitchen with oven mitts as an oven timer goes off. Vann checks on the soufflé in the oven, moves trays of crème brûlée to the side and proceeds to pour hot water out of other trays into the sink. Vann is preparing sweets for the rest of the week during the grand re-opening of the bakery.
Located on Cornwall Avenue, Pure Bliss Desserts began construction for their expansion and remodel almost a year ago and finished in late March. To celebrate its grand re-opening, the bakery offered daily specials for customers from April 15 to Saturday, April 20.
“This week has been amazing. The customer support has been astronomical,” Vann said.
The daily specials were created to show appreciation for some customer favorites. Vann said she is grateful to see the customers’ enthusiasm and support for the re-opening.
Some of the benefits of the remodel and expansion have been increasing and diversifying what the bakery already offered. Vann said their retail selection has been increased, now selling cards, candles, cake toppers and new Pure Bliss Dessert-branded shirts.
The bakery also expanded their beverage offerings. Vann said customers can now pick from four new wines on tap along with a selection of beer, cider and kombucha. Pure Bliss Desserts, as a local business, partners with other local businesses to provide these options in the bakery, Vann said.
According to their website, part of their philosophy is to use locally sourced ingredients and to partner with other local businesses to make these options available in the shop. Some of the locally sourced beverages come from Wander Brewing, Kulshan Brewery and Boundary Bay Brewery.
Each day the employees bake to fill the shop’s dessert case with two main types of selections, daily offerings and rotating flavors and sweets. The shop has a specific rotating menu, accessible on their website, that lists desserts that are scheduled to be available during certain months of the year.
“In the past, there was a lack of space in our display,” Vann said. “Since the expansion, it’s been so wonderful to display and store what we have on hand without hindering our back storage.”
Some of the new desserts joining the regular options include a lemon olive oil cake, drunken apple cake and crème brûlée.
“It’s been crazy, fun, very hectic, fast-paced and one of the most enjoyable weeks I have worked here,” Maddie Cooke, an employee working through the re-opening week, said.
Cooke said seeing customer’s faces as they walked into the new space, taking in the extra room and wider selection of desserts, was her favorite part of the week.
“It’s great being able to have something for everyone,” Cooke said.
Ellen Fossett, a Western alumna, visited the bakery during the re-opening celebration to grab a coffee and something sweet as she worked on a study guide for an upcoming exam.
Fossett said she visits the shop occasionally for a slice of cake following her visits to a neighboring business. She began coming to the bakery when the construction limited much of the space inside the shop.
“I love the desserts here and now that it’s not under construction, I can sit and enjoy my cake instead of taking it to-go,” Fossett said. “The key lime cheesecake is out of this world.”
The new shop now has more space for customers like Fossett to sit down and eat their desserts. The remodel has turned their previous 40-50 person capacity into a 90 person capacity. Vann said there is also space for outdoor seating and plans to utilize the space for customers during the summer.
“It has been the hardest year of my life. At times, it felt like the day-to-day was impossible,” Vann said. “Looking back, [the expansion] was amazing and such a gift.”