Back to HomeFeature Article - July 11, 2013

Former Ella's Bakery in Harrowsmith stays in family hands

by Julie Druker

Photo: South Frontenac Mayor Gary Davison and South Frontenac Councilor John McDougall assist Coleen Whan in cutting the ribbon at the Harrowsmith Bakery and Variety

For those who believe that famed and coveted family donut and cookie recipes should remain safe in family hands, rest assured that that is the case for the bakery formerly known as Ella's Bakery in Harrowsmith.

The bakery, which is now called simply the Harrowsmith Bakery and Variety and includes the Harrowsmith Convenience Store, is now solely owned and operated by Ella Vanderburght's sister, Coleen Whan. Coleen held a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony there on July 6, offering to her guests a deal of a BBQ, face painting for the kids, and live music for all courtesy of the Cold Country Bluegrass Band.

Ella Vanderburght originally opened the bakery in December 2010, as part of Ella's Café, and she moved the bakery to the other side of the highway beside the convenience store, which she had also bought, in December 2011. The cafe closed in October of 2012.

From the very start, Coleen had her hand in the baking side of Ella's business, first in its original location, and after it was moved. She often also cooked in the cafe's kitchen as well. Therefore, to see her taking over the entire operation is no big surprise, and because she has been so involved in the business since its inception two and a half years ago, she has made the transition a rather smooth one.

Coleen officially took over the bakery on February 1, 2013 and the store on March 1, one month later. The bakery continues to offer up the popular and much sought after home-baked fare, which include numerous pies, bars, cookies, muffins and of course the family’s famed mashed potato donuts, which people travel many kilometres to purchase.

On any given day Coleen says she sells upwards of 100 potato donuts and one bite will tell you exactly why people make a special trip from as far away as Sharbot Lake, Kingston and Westport to purchase them. Coleen is also well known for her filled donuts, especially her Boston cremes, and all of her baked goods are always baked from scratch right on site. She has three flavors of brownies and she is also well known for the family’s famed shortbread cookies, which melt in the mouth and which also come in a variety of flavors.

Coleen is assisted by two full-time staff in the bakery along with her daughter Julie, who works part time. Assisting her in the store, which is located right next to the bakery and which stocks all of the usual convenience items, are six full-time staff members. Coleen seems perfectly at home in her new role as the business’s sole owner and she wishes to thank the community for their ongoing support, her hard working staff, and her husband Mike Whan, who has been working by her side since she took the business over. The Harrowsmith Bakery and Variety is located at 4937 Road 38 in Harrowsmith and is open Monday through Saturday from 5am-9pm; Sundays from 6am-9pm. Call 613-372-5883.