I am Kelvin Van Rijn, the Founder and CEO of The Fritter Shop. I’m a Dutch immigrant. I lived in The Netherlands until I was 8 years old. I believe this aspect of my life has had a massive impact on how I run my business. I have always found that there is something so fascinating in the way European businesses operate. I try to emulate my culture through our day to day operations which I believe puts such a unique and attractive spin on how we run our bakery. I am also a graduate of the Marketing Program at Fanshawe College. Having come from a long line of entrepreneurs, I knew it was my calling to start of business of my own one day. Here’s the story of how The Fritter Shop came to fruition.
The Fritter Shop’s history actually goes back to 1989 when my parents opened up their first every bakery. This bakery was called Lieuwma, located in Downtown Amsterdam. It quickly became well-known for our top quality, consistent baking and neighbourly service. But after 12 years of running this bakery, they decided it was time for a change. In 2001, they decided to sell the bakery, their house and move the family to Canada in hopes of a new adventure. Ironically enough, our family moved here to get out of the bakery business. But after having trouble finding employment they enjoyed, they decided to open up another bakery, but this time in a foreign country. This bakery was called ‘The Dutch Bakery’ located in St. Thomas. This was the bakery where I learned my trade; working with my dad in that bakery for years as I grew up.
One year around New Year’s time, my dad had the brilliant idea to make Apple Fritters (a Dutch New Year’s tradition) to celebrate the New Year. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw people’s reaction to this product; they absolutely loved it. Right then, I knew we were onto something special. I approached my dad and told him my idea. I wanted to take our famous fritters and expand the product line. My dad had his doubts but agreed to help me in any way he could if I wanted to start something on my own. So that’s exactly what I did.
In January 2016, I launched Kelvin’s Fritter Shop. I started selling at a few local farmer’s markets in London. I was ecstatic when I saw my idea was working. People loved the idea of a variety of flavours to suit everyone’s personal tastes. We have been rapidly expanding since then. Eventually, in the middle of 2017, I went back to my mom and dad to show off the results. They were thrilled to see that it took off and jumped at the opportunity to partner up The Dutch Bakery and The Fritter Shop to continue on with my vision. We now operate solely under The Fritter Shop brand and don’t plan on stopping growth anytime soon. Having partnered up with my parents has been incredibly valuable due to all their experience in the bakery business.
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