The English Tarts
I think that most people would be flabbergasted to discover that The English Tarts began with the simple idea to sell soup.
That’s right… soup.
Bethan and Ruth, otherwise know as Mission’s very own English Tarts, met through their children at Silverdale’s strong start elementary program. They were both assisting with making soup and baking bread to divide between families in need.
It wasn’t long before the two of them crafted a brilliant plan to start a small business together. They decided that they would sell soup.
The soup idea was short-lived. They set their sights on baking and never looked back.
The English Tarts were formed.
It was humble beginnings, baking for the Saturday Mission City Farmer’s Market. This was enjoyable, connecting with so many people, but when the orders started to increase, the ladies knew that they had to find a commercial kitchen.
The perfect location was discovered downtown. It was exactly what they were looking for and had the potential to be transformed to the quaint cafe they were envisioning.
The only thing standing in their way was a Chinese Restaurant vying for the same location.
“It was them against us,” Beth recalls. “The race was on to convince the owner that we were the right duo for the building. Ruth and I were literally standing out on the street enthusiastically yelling our skills and suitability into to the phone to persuade her to rent to us.”
The rental agreement was signed on Beth’s 40th birthday.
The English Tarts opened their doors in April of 2013 and have been baking their way into the hearts of our community ever since.
“So many people jumped in to help us out,” Beth says. “We had a lot of luck in terms of support when we first opened.”
Kim Cummings, of Sadie Ann Antiques, donated a variety of tables. Various community members came down with tea pots, collectables and assorted odds and ends that make up the charming and comfortable cafe we all love today.
The hosiers were donated and the long bench is actually the original bench from the Fort Langley train station waiting room.
“A custodian from Ladner discovered what we were doing and he presented us with the two captain’s chairs you see when you first walk in.” Beth beams and the gratitude is evident. “He was actually our first customer. Drove all the way to be the first one through the door when we opened.”
Over the years, many more have followed him through that door.
Their hot tea, delightful desserts and homemade fare have become a staple in the downtown for anyone wanting a little taste of comfort. Combining this with exemplary service and you have the precise reason The English Tarts have been recognized time and time again.
They have not only had the honour of being featured on CTV Morning Live Vancouver and CBC (see links) but were highlighted in the Scenic 7 BC website blog and made the Province Newspaper’s Top 20 Tea Shops.
Advice to everyone out there during this difficult time?
We are all in this together.
“When this is finally over, our doors will be open to welcome everyone back in,” Beth says. “We miss you and can’t wait to see familiar faces again.”
Mission… meet you soon for some sticky toffee pudding and a spot of tea?