This is the latest entry in a series called Who Owns That? We've asked readers on our LinkedIn group to identify their favourite small businesses from across Canada, and we track down the owners so they can tell us their stories. Their answers are edited.
Introducing Alon and Guy Ozery, the owners of Ozery's Pita Break, a small, family-owned bakery based in Toronto.
1. Let's start with the basics. Can you briefly describe your business, including when it was founded, what it does, and where you operate?
Ozery's Pita Break is a bakery founded in 1996 by the Ozery family (Al, Alon, Hadas and Guy Ozery), in downtown Toronto as a small sandwich shop.
Today, Ozery's Pita Break produces pitas, flatbreads and crackers selling them to supermarkets, clubs and natural stores in Canada and the USA. Our philosophy is to develop new and exciting products from "clean" ingredients and having a positive influence on our environment.
2. What inspired you to become entrepreneurs and to branch out on your own with this idea?
We've always loved the food business. At first we thought that we would end up with a chain of restaurants, but the pitas sold well all by themselves at the store, which pushed us in to commercial baking. We love developing new products and concepts. Most of our growth was fueled by demand for our baked goods. We love the fact that we are part of a company that has a positive influence on the people around us (team members and customers).
3. Who are your typical customers, and how do they find you?
We don't have typical customers. We believe that they are people who care about the food they consume and do not compromise on taste or quality. They are people who are curious about new and innovative products. Today, customers can find us in many supermarkets and health food stores in Canada.
4. What are the roles of you and your co-founder in the business? Do you have any employees?
We have approximately 200 team members depending on the season. Myself (Alon) and Guy run the business. I oversee product development, marketing and some sales. Guy is responsible for production, HR and sales.
5. You've been identified by one of our readers as a standout business. What do you consider the key element of your success?
It is fantastic to hear that we were recommended by one of your readers... thank you!
We contribute our success to several aspects:
- Development of fresh and tasty baked goods.
- Our great team members, many of which have worked with us for many years (high retention).
- Customers who appreciate all of the hard work and care that we put in.
- Some luck.