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New bakery in Bienfait draws upon Kazakh traditions

The Krets family started the business together, and they work hard to treat as many people in the area to their favourite desserts, as they can.

BIENFAIT — Teremok Bakery in Bienfait invited their first guests into the business at the very beginning of March, and right off the start they were swamped with an outpouring of support for the small business.

The family bakery offers a wide variety of fresh, homemade, and as the first feedback suggests, delicious pastries, which may raise great memories for those who have Kazakh or European heritage, or it might just bring joy to people who appreciate good baking.

The Krets family, consisting of parents Alena and Alex, and their three kids Kristina, Jennifer and Kevin, started the business together, and they work hard to treat as many people in the area to their favourite desserts, as they can.

Jennifer, who along with her sister Kristina helps their mom a lot with the bakery, talked to the Mercury about their new family endeavour.

"Mom does all the cooking and baking, she's the brain behind all of this. And then me and my sister are here to help her out, help her with the cooking, with [working] up front, with the store and stuff like that," Jennifer shared.

"It was my mom's big dream to open a bakery. And we're here to help her out and make her dream come true."

For Alena, opening a bakery was a long-time dream, which she started turning into reality five to six years ago when she first tried selling little trays from home during Christmas and other holidays. Sometimes she'd make different pastries and bring them to her husband's work, and everyone who tried her baking was always "super happy", Jennifer recalled. The success of this hobby motivated the family to make the next step toward their mother's dream.

"Eventually, we thought why not make something bigger from it. So, we then decided to post on Facebook a few years ago, and then my mom sold just from home. And then eventually, we said, 'You know what, let's open a bakery, like an actual building where people come in and we bake bread and buns and pastries," she recalled.

 Alena and Alex were both born in Kazakhstan, where they started a family and had their first child Kristina. Then, they decided to move to Germany, where Jennifer and Kevin were born, and in 2010, the family moved to Canada. When they decided to open a real bakery, Alena drew upon her heritage and memories to create something homey and cozy, and she named it Teremok – which is a small cabin that often appears in Slavic fairy tales and folklore as a magical creatures' dwelling.

"The town where my mom was born and raised in Kazakhstan, they had a little bakery, and it looked like those wooden cabins. And mom said in Russia and Kazakhstan, Teremok is what they call that little wooden cabin in the woods. And because it reminded her of the bakery at home, she decided to use that name for our bakery as well," Jennifer explained.

She noted that in Teremok, people of different heritages will be happy to find sweets and treats that their grandmas used to bake. Besides, the new business plans on bringing international goods and having part of their building used as a store.

"Hopefully within the next few weeks, we will get a lot of Russian and Ukrainian-type products," Jennifer said.

"I live in Saskatoon, so when I come to visit, I usually buy all of that stuff there and then I bring it here. So, we thought, if we're already opening something where we have traditional pastries, we can always try to bring in our products as well, like candies and fish and meats and all of that stuff that you can't just find in every store here. And then that way people don't always have to go to Regina."

While the store part of the business is still in the works, the bakery definitely attracted a lot of attention. Jennifer said they were very excited to see the amount of interest and support, which keeps them very busy, but also very happy now.

"We made a post the day before we opened, that we were going to open, and the amount of people that came and supported us was just absolutely crazy … Opening day was an absolute success," Jennifer recalled. "We sold out almost everything we had in two or three hours after opening. So now, that we have everything working in the kitchen, a big oven and everything, we make fresh buns, fresh bread every day, lots of pastries, and it keeps us very, very busy."

Jennifer said her family is very grateful to the community and they look forward to bringing in more traditional treats and products.

"We've received such great support from the community and so many words of encouragement that we really just wanted to say thank you to everybody. We've had so many people stop by from such a big area all around Estevan, and many people are enjoying it. We hear lots of good feedback," Jennifer said.

"So, we really wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to everybody for the great support and being there for us and supporting us as we try to have this little bakery going in Bienfait."

Teremok Bakery is located at 407 Main Street, Bienfait. They haven't finalized their operating hours yet, so for the most up-to-date information check the Teremok Bakery Facebook page.

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