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Celebrating COBS Bread’s 20th Anniversary

As of this year, COBS Bread has been around for 20 years in Canada – that means 20 years of baking fresh handcrafted bread and treats, 20 years of making a difference in the community, and 20 years of bringing smiles to customers’ faces.

Where was COBS Bread originated from?

COBS Bread—one of the mysteries is in the name! Aaron Gillespie, our President, shares that it means “Celebration of Breads,” or “Canada’s Own Bread Store.” Both work for us! Nevertheless, COBS Bread is part of Bakers Delight, an Australian bakery franchise established in 1980 by Roger and Lesley Gillespie, Aaron’s parents. Since expanding from a multi-generational family business, we have grown to over 800 bakeries around the world.

In 2003, we opened our first COBS Bread bakery in North Vancouver, British Columbia. Today, we have over 160 bakeries in Canada and the USA. However, we believe that there is always more room for people to enjoy fresh bread – our goal is to open 350 bakeries in 5 years!

“I just love my local COBS Bread bakery. I am there several times in a week and have never been disappointed with the delicious bread. The staff are always so cheerful and welcoming,” says Jim on Instagram.

Fastest Growing Bakery Concept In Canada

  • 2003 – Opened our 1st bakery in North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • 2009 – Opened our 50th bakery in Penticton, British Columbia
  • 2015 – Expanded to the United States and opened our 1st bakery in Stamford, Connecticut
  • 2019 – Opened our 100th bakery in Chestermere, Alberta
  • 2022 – Opened our 150th bakery in Oshawa, Ontario
  • 2023 – 160 bakeries across Canada. 2 bakeries in the USA.

What do COBS Bread franchisees have in common?

We have over 130 passionate franchisees in our network, with over 30 franchisees owning multiple bakeries. They come from all walks of life, but they all have the same passion for the brand and giving back to the community. Since 2003, our bakeries have donated nearly $2 million dollars to charities across Canada through a variety of charitable initiatives.

“We are passionate about the products that we make. We are passionate about giving back to the community. It makes me very proud to be a COBS Bread bakery owner,” says Kate, franchisee of Morningside Crossing.

What do our bakeries do with leftover products?

At COBS Bread, we bake fresh in-house every day. To make use of our leftover products at the end of the day, our franchisees partner and donate leftover products to local charities through our End of Day Giving program. This includes food banks, school breakfast programs, youth charities and more. To date, our bakeries have donated over $560 million worth of products to over 500 charity recipients in Canada.

“For over 10 years, COBS Bread has been a generous donour to the Compassion Society of Halton. We pick up leftover products every week – their delicious bread and treats are so well received and appreciated by over 90 families that we serve every day. Thank you, COBS Bread. We are so grateful for this generous act of community support over the years,” says representative from the Compassion Society of Halton.

“Join us in our commitment to keeping food out of the landfill and getting it into the hands of Canadians who need it the most,”  says Aaron Gillespie, COBS Bread President.

Scott’s End of Day Giving Story

Through our End of Day Giving program, Scott, our franchisee of Fort Saskatchewan, partners with a variety of community groups to donate leftover bread and baked treats to those in need. This includes Boys and Girls Club of Fort Saskatchewan, Lamont County Food Bank, and Fort Saskatchewan High School. “I love both aspects of owning a COBS Bread bakery – baking delicious products and donating leftover products to communities in need,” says Scott.

Scott has been donating leftover products to Fort Saskatchewan High School’s breakfast program to support lower income families. “The pastries are distributed through our Breakfast Program each Wednesday morning. Students look forward to the Wednesday morning to receive one of COBS Bread’s nutritious items,” says representative from Fort Saskatchewan High School.

Kevin’s End of Day Giving Story

Through our End of Day Giving program, Kevin, the franchisee of Lakeshore, partners with Kerr Street Mission to donate leftover bread and baked treats to communities in need. Located in Oakville, Kerr Street Mission is a local charity that is committed to helping people in difficulty and distress with one-on-one support and engagement. The charitable organization has been very prominent in the community and offers many valuable resources to support those in need. This includes, such as children’s programs, youth development opportunities, family care support and more.

Instead of partnering with a variety of organizations, Kevin decided to partner with only one group because he believes that there is a greater impact of doing so. This is because efforts are more concentrated, and the bakery is able to make a bigger difference in the community. “It is important to be a real part of the community that we operate in and help where we can,” says Kevin.

20 Years of Baking by the Numbers

30% female-owned franchises

2,810 COBS Bread employees across Canada & U.S. (corporate and bakery)

Over 11.2 million loaves of bread sold in 2022

Most popular bread loaves sold in Canada

  1. White
  2. Higher Fibre
  3. Sourdough
  4. Country Grain
  5. Sunflower Flax Sourdough

Most popular baked treats

Cinnamon Bun (BC and AB)

Lemon Blueberry Scone (SK, MB, ON and NS)

Products exclusively use 100% Canadian-made flour

Sourced from P&H Milling in Lethbridge, Alberta

It’s been an exciting 20 years, and we look forward to what’s to come. Let’s toast to the next 20!