Three cousins — representing the third generation of the Schaddelee family — are the new owners of the 57-year-old Dutch Bakery in downtown Victoria.
The popular destination officially changed hands over the past month, shortly before the restaurant’s July 31 anniversary.
Six days a week, customers of all ages frequent the 65-seat bakery and restaurant at 718 Fort St., which still uses recipes handed down from Kees Schaddelee, who founded the business in 1956.
“We’ve just copied the recipe book over and over because it has fallen apart a few times,” Brook Schaddelee, one of the new owners, said Friday.
The Dutch Bakery, with its retro diner style, remains faithful to the original recipes.
“Why mess with great recipes that have attracted people year after year?” he said.
After a decade as managers in the bakery-restaurant, Brook, 41, Michele Byrne, 45, and Jack Schaddelee, 49, are now joint owners.
All are children of three of the four sons of Kees and Mabel Schaddelee, who moved to Victoria from the Netherlands after owning a bakery in Rotterdam.
Jack is the head baker, Michele is front-end manager and bookkeeper, and Brook is the chocolatier and pastry chef.
But they all do whatever is needed and share business responsibilities as well as pride in ownership, Brook said.
Michele is the daughter of Arie and Anke Schaddelee, Jack is the son of Jack and Donna, and Brook is the son of Kees (named after his father) and Bonita, who still works in the restaurant.
The new owners have six children in all, from age four to 22. It’s too early to say if another generation will join the family business, although some work part-time.
How do the three owners stick together when other family businesses are dismantled or sold?
“We are all easy-going,” Brook said.
Michele agrees, “We don’t let things get to us.”
Being together every working day suits this troika. If someone wants to discuss a business matter, the other partners are nearby. They share an equal commitment to quality, service and reasonable prices.
They’ve had plenty of time to learn how to work together — it’s a family tradition for children to pitch in when needed.
“My parents kind of groomed me to be in here,” said Jack, who began helping when he was about 10.
Brook, who was dishwashing at age 14, said, “It’s a family business. It is a part of your life.”
That part of the business is precious to Michele, who was proud this week to see daughter Nicole, 19, working at the bakery counter, while son David, 16, helped in the kitchen.
Brook said when discussing ideas, he’ll ask the others for their thoughts first. “We just iron it out,” he said. “It’s not two against one.”
Jack said, “There’s not a lot of pressure. You keep the standards we’ve had all these years.”
Brook said the Dutch Bakery is known for its quality. “That is why everything is done from scratch.”
The Dutch Bakery is now open Monday to Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The bakery is expanding its wedding cake business, with orders doubling in recent months. Sponge cakes covered with fondant and ornate flowers are popular these days. “It is becoming a very high-end business,” Michele said.
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