Cobs Bread Blog

Behind the Bread: Stephen To, our new bakery owner at Mahogany Village Market in Calgary

by Yvonne Y | Mar 22, 2017
When did you join the COBS Bread family and what inspired you to do so?

We officially joined the COBS Bread family June of 2016 however our introduction and involvement with the franchise first began the summer prior.  It was at that time Stephen was fortunate enough to reconnect with a friend and COBS Bread franchisee owner, as it was this reunion that started our journey with COBS Bread.  Like many Albertans, our family was affected by the downtown in the economy as Stephen lost his accounting job in Oil & Gas and was left considering his options. Stephen spent months researching COBS Bread, including the parent company Bakers Delight, and many other franchises. He came to the conclusion that COBS Bread stood out from of all of the franchises for the following reasons: COBS Bread believes in providing healthy choice options, baking their bread fresh daily, community involvement and donating leftover end of day bread to charity.  As a result of having aligned values and the franchise being a proven business, our family took a leap of faith and joined the COBS Bread franchisee family. Now seeing a future of promise and opportunity, we believe it was fate that brought us to COBS Bread.  

We officially joined the COBS Bread family June of 2016 however our introduction and involvement with the franchise first began the summer prior.  It was at that time Stephen was fortunate enough to reconnect with a friend and COBS Bread franchisee owner, as it was this reunion that started our journey with COBS Bread.  Like many Albertans, our family was affected by the downtown in the economy as Stephen lost his accounting job in Oil & Gas and was left considering his options. Stephen spent months researching COBS Bread, including the parent company Bakers Delight, and many other franchises. He came to the conclusion that COBS Bread stood out from of all of the franchises for the following reasons: COBS Bread believes in providing healthy choice options, baking their bread fresh daily, community involvement and donating leftover end of day bread to charity.  As a result of having aligned values and the franchise being a proven business, our family took a leap of faith and joined the COBS Bread franchisee family. Now seeing a future of promise and opportunity, we believe it was fate that brought us to COBS Bread.  

    
What did you do before working at COBS Bread? 
Stephen is an accountant and realtor and has lived in Calgary most of his life. Both he and his wife, Susan, were previously with oil and gas. 

Why COBS Bread? 

We are proud to be a COBS Bread franchisee as not only does it support our family, but it provides us the opportunity to give back to charities, communities and schools. 

What do you enjoy the most about being a franchisee? 

• Having the autonomy to make decisions about your own business
• Being in control of your future and success of your business
• Helping others by giving back to charities, communities and schools
• Helping support and mentor the individuals you hire to join the COBS Bread franchise team

Which charities will your bakery donate end of day products to? 

We are proud to be partnered up with the following charities for end of day products:

LeftOvers Calgary – LeftOvers Calgary is an organization that rescues food from being thrown in the garbage, and ensures the food makes it to service agencies in need. Service agencies such as the Calgary Drop-In Centre, Calgary Interfaith Food Bank, Alpha House, Making Changes Association and Inn from the Cold which provide housing, food, and opportunities for those that are impoverished and in need. LeftOvers Calgary delivers perishable food to these locations to alleviate stress and fill their kitchens with fresh items. 

Harvest Healing Centre Church in Strathmore – Volunteers at the church pick up end of day products from various COBS Bread bakeries across Calgary and deliver them to the Church for anyone in need of food.

L’Arch Calgary – L’Arch Calgary is a Community of Belonging, Sharing the Lives of People with Developmental Disabilities. 

Children’s Make a Wish Foundation of Canada – this is a very special organization that our family feels very passionate about as it hits home for us.  We know what it is like to have your children stay in ICU and battle cancer, therefore if we are in a position to make a difference and help a sick child or their family, it is important to us that we take action and lend a helping hand.

How are you planning on getting involved in the community? 

Mahogany Community Sponsorship – We are currently a community member sponsor and we support all of the events and charities in this community.

Surrounding community events – Besides being a sponsor at the Mahogany Community Association, we are also involved with the surrounding communities as well including Aurburn Bay, Cranston, Copperfield, New Brighten, MacKenzie Lake, MacKenzie Town, and etc..

Community Churches – We have partnered up with the churches in the surrounding communities to provide end of day products to their programs, fundraising events and special holiday events.

Schools – Through the Doughraiser Program and the Breakfast Club of Canada, we are working closely with schools to help educate the students and help parents and staff with all kinds of fundraising and special events in the surrounding communities.

And of course, various fundraiser events at the bakery!

A little more about me.... 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Our family enjoys participating in our children’s activities which include hockey, dance, gymnastics and swimming.  When time permits, we travel to experience and learn about other cultures however most importantly to spend quality time together as a family.

If you could have dinner with any three people in the world, who would they be?

Albert Einstein – Einstein was a German-born physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, amongst other feats. He is considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century. Stephen’s first nonfiction book was about Albert Einstein and he has always been fascinated with him. 

Luca Pacioli - Fra Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli was an Italian mathematician, Franciscan friar, collaborator with Leonardo da Vinci, and a seminal contributor to the field now known as accounting. As an Accountant, Stephen is very fascinated with life and legacy of Luca Pacioli. 

Adam Smith – Adam was often considered the father of economics. Much of what is considered the standard of market theory was written by him over the course of two books, the "Theory of Moral Sentiments" and "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations." In Smith's first book, he developed a general system of morals, including the notion that "individual freedom is rooted in self-reliance." His next book was broken down into five separate books and is considered to be the first modern work in the field of economics. Using finely detailed examples, Smith hoped to reveal exactly what caused nations to prosper. Through this examination he developed a critique of the economic system, specifically mercantilism and the concept of the Invisible Hand, which implies that the success of an individual indirectly benefits society as a whole. 

The above list is Stephen’s list however the three people his wife Susan and kids would have for dinner would be, in no particular order, Wayne Gretzky, the cast from Paw Patrol and Cinderella.

What is your favourite quote?

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”-- Thomas Edison

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