MONCTON – Acadian entrepreneur Elki Imbeault has had the idea for Co_Pain for years, influenced by his travels and passion for bread. But it only became a business in July after he met Tanguy Jacobs and Aurore Plaisant through the immigration centre, CAFI.
The French couple worked in a bakery in their home country. They moved to Moncton six months ago in search of a new challenge and to discover Canada. Along with Nicole Collins, the three began selling fresh sourdough bread and other pastries to parents with children at Roche Papier Ciseaux, a daycare Imbeault and his wife founded six years ago.
“When [Elki] met Aurore and Tanguy, that’s when he decided to go ahead and push for the business because the product that Tanguy produces is amazing,” says Collins, the daycare’s chef. “We all really do love it, and they have the background and the skills to move it forward.”
Jacobs says they all work really well together.
“It’s a really great adventure and we learn from each other,” Jacobs said.
Co_Pain sells products at the Moncton Market
To test the market, they began selling their products at the Shediac market this summer. Today, Co_Pain’s pastries and bread can be bought at the Moncton market and online through The Farmer’s Truck.
In February next year, Co_Pain will move to a building across the street at 98 Bonaccord St. The group is still in the process of developing products for the new storefront, but they plan to offer their best-selling sourdough bread, croissant with chocolatine, oatmeal bread and baguettes.
Co_Pain is all about passion. Jacobs said “love” is what makes his products special, while the rarity of French pastry in Moncton keeps customers coming back.
Collins says customers are especially enthusiastic about the fresh croissants.
“When we go to the market people say they’re very excited because these are real French croissants,” said Collins. “Really the amount of work that goes into it is amazing. Pastry right from scratch. They’re beautiful, they’re buttery, they’re flaky and they’re not the mass-produced stuff.”
Plaisant says they also love the sourdough bread that reminds them of their youth.
“Some people say that the sourdough bread is the one they’re looking for, and sometimes some people say that was the bread from their childhood,” said Plaisant.
Although the daycare was a good place to start producing the pastries, the limited space and equipment have created challenges. The oven only holds 10 loaves of sourdough bread at a time, slowing Jacobs down. The security of the daycare also means customers can’t simply walk in to buy pastry. The new building, which is still under construction, will mean a professional baking kitchen for Jacobs and more efficient production for Co_Pain.
“It will be a real bakery,” Plaisant said.
The two-storey space will also mark the daycare’s expansion. The back of the first floor and the second floor will predominantly facilitate after-school activities for children, while the rest will be dedicated to the bakery. The daycare and bakery will be separate entities.
Inda Intiar is a freelance writer in Moncton.