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Rising Success

Sunrise Bakery celebrates 60 years

Andrew Polturak, Colin Haak and Nick Polturak. Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt.

On a quiet industrial street in Edmonton sits an unassuming building with a humble sign that reads Sunrise Bakery. You likely have not heard of them; probably have never seen them before either. But if you are in the area, you can’t miss the smell of chocolate wafting through the air, making your mouth water. And if you have enjoyed confections – especially a delicious brownie or chewy cookie – from the likes of Dairy Queen, Baskin Robins, Subway or Sobeys, you are indeed acquainted with Sunrise Bakery. This commercial bakery has, for 60 years, been producing, selling and distributing baked goods to organizations across North America.

Sunrise Bakery is proud to be expanding on 50 distinct product lines while continuing to provide production, distribution and research and development solutions for its food service clients. Sunrise is an extension of each client’s company, providing high quality baked goods on time and within their budget. The bakery prides itself on reliability, never short-shipping orders; each PO is fulfilled as ordered and if any issues arise, it is taken care of proactively and efficiently.

“The company was founded in 1963 by Dutch immigrants that moved to Edmonton,” says Nick Polturak, partner at Sunrise Bakery. “One was a baker, one was a businessman. They were looking for an opportunity and a place to hang a shingle and open a business.”

Polturak goes on to note that Sunrise started as a friendly neighbourhood bakery on 156th Street, with some home deliveries on the side. Sunrise, at the time, was close to a Safeway and the bakers became friendly with Safeway’s baker. That is how they learned Safeway was looking for a reliable partner to help produce products. With that, Sunrise entered the B2B market and the rest is history. Today Sunrise is completely B2B, much to the chagrin of those who follow the scent of fresh baked goods and pop through the front door in the industrial complex!

“Today, Sunrise operates from a 42,000 square foot facility and is on its third generation of ownership,” says Polturak. “My brother and I invested with the CFO, who is the grandson of one of the original founders. We continue to expand the business through the product lines and also expanding the team to add energy and talent for capturing growth opportunities. We compete with large multinationals and have SKUs with some of the most notable fast food chains. We ship North America-wide and more. It’s exciting to be a part of that!”

Growth has been a steady factor since Sunrise opened its doors. On day one there were two partners and a helper. Today there can be up to 130 people on the schedule. Each person is a valued member of the team and plays a vital role.

Polturak explains, “We are relentlessly focused on order fulfillment. We don’t do underfilled or partially filled. If there are delays, we are transparent and engage the client. We have an extremely capable R&D team that comes up with products that our competitors have not been able to produce.”

It’s not just the products that have the bakery’s focus. The team and corporate environment are always a top priority.

“We are very employee focused, making sure the team is cared for and has what they need to complete the job efficiently and safely. They are integral to the company’s successes. Our shareholders have done an excellent job of cultivating a tight knit culture that focuses on fun, taking care of each other, and making sure everyone is comfortable in the work environment. It can be hard to find good staff because production teams tend to be transitory. That is why we are proud of our long-term staff, many of whom have been with us for 25 – 30 years. That is a true testament to the culture built over the decades. We thank each staff member, from the past to the present, who helped build Sunrise Bakery into the success it is today.”

Sunrise is happy to share that success with the community. Every holiday season the bakery contributes to food baskets and hampers, while also supporting various charitable projects and fundraisers throughout the year.

Over the course of 60 years, Sunrise Bakery has been recognized, awarded and celebrated many times with various service awards. Sunrise is particularly proud of a 30-year service award from Dairy Queen.

From starting as a neighbourhood bakery and evolving to a reputable commercial success that produces your favourite treats in the world’s most recognizable restaurants and grocery retailers, Sunrise Bakery has come a very long way. But it hasn’t been without hard work and a dedicated staff. Now, what does the future hold?

The future smells delicious.

“With 30+ million brownies baked per year, 2.3 million eggs per year used in our recipes and more than 100 dedicated team members, we are making a difference for the local workforce, for suppliers and for our clients,” Polturak concludes. “The goal is to keep growing; we will likely need a larger facility in the near future. We have plans to export into Asia and we are currently developing new product lines, such as edible cookie dough and a frozen white label dinner roll.”

The next time you are anywhere in North America at a chain restaurant and enjoy a sumptuous brownie, breakfast on a perfectly soft muffin, or bite into a delicious cookie, you just may be tasting the product of Edmonton’s local success story – Sunrise Bakery.

Learn more online at www.sunrise-bakery.com