The Kootenay Bakery Café Cooperative is a whole-foods eating establishment that uses organic ingredients and locally grown produce. Incorporated in 2001, the cafe serves Nelson and the surrounding area.
For years, four sisters owned and successfully operated a bakery in Edmonton, Alberta. In 1990, the sisters and their families decided to move to Nelson and negotiated a lease agreement with the Kootenay Country Store Co-operative to use a working space inside the co-op for their bakery. Len Nicoll, spouse of one of the sisters, became the sole proprietor of the bakery, Kootenay Baker, for 10 years.
In 2000, the Kootenay Country Store Co-operative announced plans to expand, thus terminating the lease arrangement with Kootenay Baker. Nicoll used this opportunity to change locations and establish an autonomous identity in the Nelson area. In addition, he began exploring the possibility of transforming his business into a worker co-op where member owners have a direct stake in the business because of their own economic investment and personal commitment. The staff responded positively to his proposal and the journey to the Kootenay Bakery Café Cooperative began.