“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.” Demosthenes, Statesman & Orator, Ancient Greece.
Hidden Goldmine Bakery, owned by Cheryl and Brad Freeman, established in 2004, demonstrates this approach. The Hidden Goldmine Bakery was honoured earlier this fall with the Members' Choice Award at the annual Awards Gala dinner of Community Futures Ontario. Cheryl's grandmother's brown sugar fudge recipe was the first stepping stone of evolution for this small business, which has continued to steadily grow over the past 12 years. The original Hidden Goldmine Fudge Nugget not only aligns with the history of their area (the first gold mine in Ontario) but it was immediately identified that this style of baking triggered a "just like Grandma used to make" memory for their customers and that selling this product, and the resulting nostalgic experience, was a winning idea.
This is a true grassroots story. Cheryl and her daughters would sell their baking at craft sales and fairs within their local communities. It's from these humble beginnings the Freemans created a small bakery (just 400 square feet) that was built onto their family home in 2007. No doubt, many of you local readers will recall visiting the bakery in those early days and the warmth associated with being welcomed into their home, literally.
With a strong philosophy of steady continuous improvement and growth, their iconic baking started leaving through the front and backdoor as they evolved to a strong two pronged retail and wholesale business model. Securing a wholesale contract wiht Kawartha Dairy contributed to the company's continued growth, brand awareness and extended customer base past Hastings County's boundaries. It only seemed fitting for Kawartha Dairy to also use Hidden Goldmine Bakery chocolate chip cookies for their ice cream sandwiches. And so, the Freemans continued to show excellence in their business operations as they grew; hiring more staff and beginning to look forward to the new possibilities ahead.
Hidden Goldmine Bakery offers flavours from the past in downtown Madoc
The Freemans purchased the historic Kincaid Building in downtown Madoc in 2012 and the work began to transform the building into the new home of the bakery. This investment into the downtown core has helped to improve the aesthetics of the quaint town and has cottagers and locals alike hopping out of their vehicles and walking the main street. Today, Hidden Goldmine Bakery has been in business for 13 years and are celebrating their baker's dozen anniversary, this summer marks 5 years at their new location. The 4,000 square foot bakery and cafe serves up hot lunches, specialty drinks, baked goods and new this year, they are scooping ice cream out of their latest addition, the Miners Malt Shoppe.
Brad and Cheryl understand the value of a strong community and are committed to using local ingredients and are dedicated to hiring local staff and working together to develop a confident, socially aware and enthusiastic youth workforce. Over the years, the business has expanded to include a unique, one-of-a-kind shopping experience offering home decor, antiques and local preserves. The Freemans have been successful in creating a trendy, cultural experience that is inspiring to other businesses. Some of their most popular goods are their fresh fruit pies, rustic style breads, the original fudge nuggets, as well as the best butter tarts you will ever taste. Who doesn't enjoy a perfectly crafted butter tart - just like grandma used to make?
Hidden Goldmine Bakery has been a client of Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) of North & Central Hastings and South Algonquin since 2004. This supportive partnership between Hidden Goldmine Bakery and CFDC has assisted and influenced the accelerated business expansion and growth over the years.
"CFDC has offered us consistent support throughout the growth of our business." said Cheryl, owner of Hidden Goldmine Bakery. "Together, we have evolved our grand vision into life."
"The CFDC's strong business advisory team has encouraged each step of our 13 year business adventure." Brad, owner of Hidden Goldmine Bakery adds. "We have entrusted the CFDC staff and board of directors to be our independent business ear, offering insight and experience to help develop our ideas into steps of success."
"We are proud of the success of the Hidden Goldmine Bakery whom we have worked with for the past 13 years. We have seen them grow from a one person operation to a significant employer for the area with 15 employees and a beautiful downtown location. They have worked hard to build a successful business which has contributed to an increasingly healthier economy -- exactly what the CFDC strives to achieve. Congratulations Cheryl & Brad Freeman of the Hidden Goldmine Bakery, downtown Madoc, on your achievement." said John Kirby, Vice-Chair CFDC.
Jim Etmanske, CFDC Chair says that "We love to see the success of our clients as we build long term supportive relationships with innovative business owners like the Hidden Goldmine Bakery. Congratulations to the Freemans who have demonstrated steady continuous improvements and accelerated growth."