While most bakers in North America discover European baking traditions as adults, Portofino Bakery owner Jaap Verbeke began his baking apprenticeship in Holland at the age of 11. After having undertaken several different ventures, one of which led him to Canada, Jaap returned to his childhood passion of baking and opened a retail bakery in the Broadmead Village Shopping Center. The launch of the bakery proved very successful and soon after Jaap started receiving requests from wholesale customers wanting to use and/or sell Portofino products in their business. The demand for wholesale products quickly outgrew the Broadmead bakery’s capacity, necessitating a division between the retail and wholesale production. In the summer of 2004, Portofino acquired Lilly Bakery, a small local wholesale bakery, and shifted its wholesale production to this location, outgrowing the new 1800 sq ft space within a year. It was at this time that Jaap joined forces with brothers Ian and Wayne Fatt, known for their business acumen and astute knowledge of the local market conditions — Ian started and owned the Red Barn Markets and Wayne heads Islands West, the Fatt family’s produce company. The newly formed partnership was very beneficial in that it brought together an array of qualities and skills that built on each other, which in turn resulted in a repositioning of the company’s underlying principles as well as in a physical relocation of the bakery to a 6000 sq ft location on Devonshire road. The retail bakery was sold to enable full and complete concentration on the wholesale operation. In the fall of 2009, another 4000 sq ft were added to the existing floor space, bringing the total facility floor space to 10,000 sq ft. Moreover, the entire lay-out of the bakery was redesigned to reflect the need for better efficiencies, more environmentally friendly production processes, improved working conditions and optimal food safety standards. Today, Portofino Bakery can look to the future with confidence knowing that it meets or exceeds the norms and standards as they exist in the bakery industry.