Wisdoms to Glean from a Successful Business: De La Terre Bakery

I tell a story and break down some key wisdoms about being a business owner and a man in todays society. Following a local "to me" bakery over the years and learning business experience/life principles.

Adam DeRoches

7/28/20235 min read

Anticipation...

It’s a warm and sunny day in July as I drive myself and my mother out to St. Catharines, Ontario. I step out of my truck and immediately hear the hustle and bustle of customers milling about. I can smell a faint hint of something sweet in the air. As I watch cars pull in and out, I’m ecstatic to say the least. In a few short moments I will be picking up – and chowing down on – some Herb and Cheese Croissants from De La Terre Bakery. Equal, if not better to something you’d find at a bistro walking down the streets of France. (Shhh! Yes, I know that’s blasphemous).

I have been following De La Terre’s progress since they were a small bakery in Vineland, and then located in Jordan Station. Later, they partnered with Bench Kitchen in Grimsby. I’ll do a separate article on that business because I could live solely on the ‘Grimsby Smoke’. As you can see, I am trying to make you aware that I’ve been rooting for this bakery (not to mention their divine croissants) that kept me coming back again and again (fyi, my mother buys a dozen at a time to make sure she never runs out). This new-to-me location in St. Catharines needed to be explored, so I snapped some shots of some amazing street art around the building and then headed inside.

Opening of the door creates a draft, and it hits me… the smell of yeast, baked bread, coffee brewing and the sound of fingers hitting keyboards, as a few patrons type and work away at the tables off to one side, smiles on their faces as they enjoy the ambience. The place has been designed to be a neutral and positive atmosphere, appealing to all ages – young and old and everything in between. Wood accents and pastel colours create a Scandinavian minimalist design, simple and clean. Truly an ode to their mission, craft and ingredients.

At the counter I’m greeted by a smiling face. A company employee with unique demeanor. As I watch the community of people that I can see working behind the scenes I start to think to myself… “man, I could work here”. I order a Buffalo Chicken Grill Cheese and a Chai Latte… which literally makes my stomach rumble as I’m writing this. Thankfully, (and purely coincidental) at the time of writing this, I have a Bench Kitchen Turkey sandwich in the fridge I will likely devour by the next paragraph or so. Back on topic! My mother orders an Egg and Ham Breakfast Croissant and her usual dozen Herb and Cheese Croissants. Are you seeing the pattern here?

We sit down and relax, and chat while our orders are prepared. Comfortable seating and tables surround us, filled with busy bodies humming and buzzing along, most in their own little world. Then, my mother mentions something I hadn’t noticed. In the seating area the windows have been designed to be quite high off the ground… odd I thought. The more I continued to think about this, it dawned on me. “They HAVE created a little safe haven”. It's an intelligent addition… when most companies opt for large windows that allow the outside world to seep in, De La Terre has created a little cove that feels cozy and private – a peaceful place to enjoy their fare, tucked away from the outside world. Intentional or not, it’s a clever addition.

The meal that’s brought to us is simple yet divine, and we’re grateful to be filling our faces with it. I did tell you it was a Buffalo… Chicken… Grilled Cheese, right? If you are a lover of cheese, let me tell you… it was ooey gooey good. I'm grateful that companies like De La Terre exist. I have watched them grow, collaborate, and succeed. I’m looking forward to De La Terre’s next steps, and of course, my next stop-by to pick up those “DAMN GOOD HERB AND CHEESE CROISSANTS!”

You may be asking yourself what all of this has to do with Divine Masculine Vitality… fair, I rambled a bit. Here it is:

Dedication and Growth.

For De La Terre, it has been a 10+ year lifespan from startup to execution. The owner Jan Campbell-Luxton has put in some S-E-R-I-O-U-S effort… I don’t know all the ups and downs, the intricacies and juggling that was needed to get De La Terre where it is today. However, I’m aware that the company now runs like a finely tuned, well-oiled machine. If Jan Campbell-Luxton were a Samurai, De La Terre would be his Katana.

Everyone, and their older cousin twice removed, wants a quick overnight fix. A miracle pill, a program that will ‘fix’ them in 7 days, 2 weeks or at most, a month. This is not success, nor what creates a Man. It certainly isn’t what creates a Divine Masculine archetype. We are built for endurance. We are built for success. We have been marketed flawed systems that are built with greed and sold various ‘solve your problems today’ schemes. This is why I’m doing this work. This is why you’re reading this article, because you’re on a blog dedicated to bettering yourself... and you get to read about croissants, and...

Resiliency and Determination.

When I see someone like Jan Campbell-Luxton striving and rising above an industry standard to create a brand, nay a community, it makes me stop to think and question, “What can I learn here?” I am sure there were many challenges along the way, and perhaps a few disbelievers and critics. De La Terre’s growth and success is no doubt due to the owner’s own determination, talent, and perseverance. This kind of success relies on a vision and the mindset to create something one truly believes in – as well as the determination to stick it out and see it through, no matter the setbacks.

So, let’s walk away from this with a new mindset. A mindset based on the knowledge that when we see others out there succeeding - turning their passions and crafts into sustainable long-term goals and businesses – realize that with hard work, vision and determination, we can do the same. As is our goal here on this site and through all my mediums, I want you to succeed. I want you to go on and help others succeed because that’s how we increase the collective. When we train each other with good solid wisdoms, we all win.

With only seeing the business one man created we can start to take the habits and processes that are used to replicate this kind of success. If you own a small bakery, guess who you should start following for motivation? De La Terre. If you own a small coffee shop, bistro, restaurant or any kind of service business that aspires to be the best it can be and create a community that wants to do the same, guess who you should follow for motivation? De La Terre.

About:

Chef Jan Campbell-Luxton, who is both the owner and the operator, has had an illustrious career in the culinary world, both within Canada and overseas, since 1996. He is a proud graduate of the Stratford Chefs School and went on to spend several more years there as an instructor. His philosophical approach towards De La Terre is derived from his Bachelor’s Degree in International Development Studies from Trent University. De La Terre is a restaurant passionately devoted to promoting locally sourced food and their respective growers. It also advocates for customers to support organic and sustainable farming methods. Staying true to this ethos, their take-away containers, utensils, and napkins are all biodegradable and compostable. They make a point to source their flour and fresh produce from small, independent farmers whenever feasible.