By: Jason Sheppard
More than seven years after opening in Conception Bay South, Dough By’s Bakery has become a community – and a province-wide – favourite
In May of 2011, Bernadine and Henry Pilgrim opened Dough By’s Bakery in Conception Bay South and to say that the town has been good to them would be a great understatement.
The Pilgrims, who had previously run the popular The Corner Store in the Goulds, sold that business and after a few years of retirement, felt that the town of Conception Bay South could use a local home-style bakery.
That store, Dough By’s Bakery, opened in much the same way it is still run today with just some small additions over the years. “All the departments have always been here,” explains store manager Natasha Pilgrim, who has been with the bakery for five and a half years. “The deli, the pizza, the bakery, all the bread and everything like that. They’ve always been there.”
While little things like produce coolers have been added since the store first opened, it’s still the same. Even though owner Bernadine isn’t as hands-on as she used to be, she keeps busy in her store decorating cakes, making desserts, working in the bakery and in the deli. “She can do it all,” marvels Pilgrim.
Pilgrim says the CBS community has been incredible to them. “The community loves it. They absolutely love it,” she said. ”Not only do we get people from the community, but we get people from the east end, Bay Roberts, the Goulds. We get them from all over the place.”
‘Like Mom Used To Make’
Dough By’s is a family run business, which for many, is part of the store’s appeal. “We have people who say to us, ‘I used to bake the bread or I used to make these cookies’ but they don’t anymore because we’re here now,” laughs Pilgrim. “We get a lot of comments of ‘it’s like mom used to make.’ “
One question the crew of Dough By’s often get asked is if they plan on opening another store, but Pilgrim says that’s not likely. “I can’t see us doing another location,” she admits. “I’m the one who does most of it now, I’m the one who’s here six days a week, usually 10-11 hours a day so there’s only so much I can do,” Pilgrim explains with a laugh. Dough By’s employs 25 other staff members.
Pilgrim explains that while Christmas is their busiest time of year, she finds summer quite busy as well.
“The warm weather brings people out while Christmas is a just a couple weeks of it being hectic. For Christmas everybody wants to get their bread and their desserts. Any holiday is like that. Thanksgiving was just like that.”
During those busy holidays, the bakers will have had between 60-70 cakes already made, which as one can imagine, fly off the shelves.
“We can’t keep them there,” said Pilgrim. Those cakes are usually made by the bakery’s three main bakers, “Two Ashleys and a Jennifer,” Pilgrim shares. Of course, they make custom and specialty cakes. The bakers are also kept busy making bread – around 600 loaves of white bread alone during holidays.
Because the town of CBS has been so welcoming to the Dough By’s team, they want to help out whenever they can by doing things such as providing products for the weekly town hall meetings. The bakery will get requests for weddings as well as business functions, school events and even Herald Cookbook shoots!
Because the Pilgrims had run such a successful store before, this helped them start off a bit higher up then from somebody coming in from scratch. “I think anyone who knew Bernie and Henry from The Corner Store were aware of their reputation already,” reflects Pilgrim. “Anybody who had been in there knew what they could do and how well they could do it, so when it came to being in a new area they had to build some of that up of course, but word-of-mouth was huge. ”
Dough By’s is trying to grow with the community as they’re growing themselves. “You can’t just stay at the same old thing all the time,” Pilgrim shares. “You have to constantly come up with new ideas like new types of cakes. You just have to keep things fresh.”
For more information, visit Dough By’s Facebook page or contact them at (709) 834-6404.