This couple now runs the Portuguese bakery in Toronto where they first met
A Toronto couple now runs the bakery where they first met, which has been in their family since 1979.
That's the year Brazil Bakery and Pastry was purchased by the parents of Sharon Barros, who now runs the spot with her husband Luis Barros.
While Sharon was born in Toronto, Luis had actually immigrated to Canada with his family from Braga, Portugal when he was three years old.
Sharon originally met Luis at the bakery in 1989 when she was working part-time at the store and he worked for her parents as a part-time baker after school.
She's following in her parents' footsteps, in a way: they also met at a bakery on Augusta where they both worked prior to purchasing Brazil.
"My parents have been owners of Brazil Bakery since 1979 and have had various partners throughout those years up until March 2020 when they retired, and my husband and I purchased 100 per cent of the business," Sharon Barros tells blogTO.
At that time, they never could have known what was just about to hit them, but Sharon and Luis persisted at the bakery, knowing they'd need to rely on team members old and new to make it through.
"Even at our slowest time we did not want to lay off any staff and took losses but thankfully prevailed. We all came together and moved forward as a team," says Sharon.
"We are fortunate to have staff that have been with the bakery for over 20 years and some that have recently joined our team, who helped us through this hardship. We are grateful for their dedication, and it is thanks to them that Brazil Bakery is and has been very successful."
Over the course of decades and even throughout the uncertainty of recent times, Brazil Bakery has been able to rely on their reputation for making a Toronto favourite: egg custard tarts, or pasteis de nata.
Over 40 years, Barros says Brazil Bakery has sold 20 million of them, and continues to produce thousands ever week.
"Our custard tarts have a smoother custard filling and a flakier exterior than most competitors," says Barros. "We are confident we have mastered the product."
Other popular products include sweet breads, a line of Portuguese breads, and malasadas (traditional Portuguese fried donuts).
You can also get coffee, and sandwiches made with their crusty rolls.
They've recently introduced slightly less traditional almond butter croissants, as well as blueberry and cranberry scones that they "find hard to keep on the shelves due to high demand" according to Barros.
Brazil Bakery had already existed for a number of years before her parents bought it, and one of their original partners from Brazil picked the name.
But like their lineup of baked goods and their staff, Luis and Sharon know it's never too late to try new things to continue the success of the bakery.
Basically, the Brazil Bakery you know and love may soon no longer be called that anymore.
"As much as the name has been a staple to the community, we are in a time of change and we are in the process of doing a major renovation in making the bakery bigger and better," says Barros.
"While keeping some of the Portuguese traditions, we are going to modernize it and give it a complete update to modern products and complete lines of foods and coffees. In this process, we are going to change the name of bakery, as well. We are going to change the name to reflect the whole community."
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