Business

Mom’s shop a treat for kids

Joanna Schultz turned her children’s dietary challenges  into a successful business.  - Mike Douglas photo
Joanna Schultz turned her children’s dietary challenges into a successful business.
— image credit: Mike Douglas photo

Any parent knows it’s hard to tell children they can’t have sweets.

But for Joanna Schultz, there was no way around it.

Both her daughters – Frances, 6, and Gisela, 3 – were gluten- and dairy-intolerant, which whittled treat options dramatically.

“Every time I would hear a new gluten-free bakery opened up in the city, I would get so excited and pack the kids up, ‘let’s go! let’s go!’ and we’d get there and I would ask what was dairy free, and there would be things like biscotti, things that they didn’t want,” Schultz, 42, explained.

“There would be all these delicious treats, and I would have to tell them that they couldn’t have any of it.”

Finally, she had enough. A year and a half ago, Schultz left her corporate position and opened up Pikanik, a gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free bakery in South Surrey. Since opening, the bakery has received a number of accolades, including placing third in Canadian Baker’s Journal magazine’s Innovator of the Year competition.

“It’s nice to be acknowledged by our industry, but it’s the customers who walk in here every day who make it feel worthwhile,” she said. “Our customers are invested in our success as much as we are.”

The feedback is exactly what Schultz needed to confirm her career decision was the right one.

“I just felt really strongly that this was what I needed to do and this was when I needed to do this. It was a leap of faith,” she said. “I gave up a job with really great job security, pension and benefits – everything – to fly by the seat of my pants.”

Located off 152 Street and 19 Avenue, Pikanik has a loyal following, Schultz said, noting even those without allergies stop by to pick up goodies.

On the road to success, Schultz spent hours in the kitchen testing different combinations to get the results she wanted.

“I’d say breads were the hardest. The biggest challenge. The classic sandwich loaf took two years to perfect,” she said. “To do recipe development is really tedious and time consuming, you can only do one change at a time. Because you have to see how that effects the outcome.

“It’s interesting for sure, extremely challenging but so rewarding when you finally get it.”

The cherry on top of the – gluten- and dairy-free – cake is that Schultz’s daughters can finally indulge.

“They love it, they come in and they can pick whatever they want and everything is safe.”

 

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