In these last few days of 2022, we have had a few moments to sit down and reflect on the past year, between snacks and puzzles and packing up our pop up on James North. While Pinch has been brewing in both of our hearts for years, 2022 was the year that we made the very real and scary steps of sharing Pinch with the world and in so many ways, we could not have predicted how it played out.
We made some very conscious choices about what core principles we wanted to include in our business, thanks to Jenifer Hulley’s interactive business planner, and this has been a roadmap for us every step of the way. Connecting with Amy from Together Design Studio for our branding and website design was another one of the incredible formative decisions we made, as she really helped us to take our vision and thoughts from our business planner and create a visual brand identity, which made Pinch seem all the more real. Add in a few photography shots with the incredible Dorothy May, we felt like we were finally getting the ball rolling! When we launched our Kickstarter in early 2022, we knew that the majority of campaigns were unsuccessful, but we were fully funded within 5 days (still can’t believe this) and we continued to raise just over $15,000 to help with our focus on making sure our business was fully accessible and AODA compliant.
We have chosen to not focus too much on the loss of our original location, but for the sake of reflection, it is worth naming that we were truly disappointed that we were unable to take over the old Jet Diner, not just because of the obvious loss of time and investment but because we were overwhelmingly welcomed and supported by this neighbourhood. I don’t think either of us expected the enthusiasm we received from the community, and while it didn’t work out for us, we became more committed to Ward 3 as our home.
Amidst pop up markets with our glorious vintage slushy machine beast, we continued hunting for locations that met our annoyingly complicated needs - commercial kitchen and seating, room for the lushest retail you can imagine, adaptable to be fully accessible, and as close to Ward 3 as possible. As a very real note, I am exceptionally proud of Amanda and myself for how we navigated this season, because it could have been so easy to give up, or go after each other, or slander folks, and we were always on the same page, always a team. From dropping slushie syrup right before an event to links and links of commercial listings, we went back to that identity we had carved out for Pinch and held to it.
When we connected with Jacob and the team from the Playhouse Cinema about restoring an old social club, we fell in love immediately - with the exposed brick and aged grapevines that covered the huge patio, but also with the intentionality and commitment of working with these folks. It is truly a joy to announce that this will be our home - we have been so welcomed by our future neighbours so far, and are thrilled to see what ways we can both learn and grow here.
And of course, while all of this was happening, why not open a pop up bake shop? While James St North has never been a location we looked at for our shop, it made a lot of sense to give it a go to see how folks felt about what we were offering in a small contained experiment, and it turns out - ya’ll like your treats! It was so fun to test out one aspect of our business and just get to have fun with making delicious things and seeing you enjoy them, while learning so much along the way. We were so fortunate to have this opportunity to get you all hooked on our sweets, and get to share in so many holiday memories!
Now we are packing up our kitchen while renovations at 183 Sherman Ave N are wrapping up, and starting to work away at a very long list of things we need to start chipping away at. Jacob has worked with us to find and restore some gorgeous antique doors which are also wide enough for our full accessibility commitment, including a new entrance to the shop and a back patio door! In addition to our accessible bathroom, we have some small ledge barriers to remove and still lots to do with setting up our kitchen and cafe space, but everyday it starts to feel and look more and more like our home.
And while we’re talking about how lovely it is to work with the Playhouse, it makes sense to also mention that beyond the treats we’ve been making for you already, and beyond the plants and greenery we have always been about, beyond coffee and espresso-based drinks being offered, Pinch will also be serving light meal options to take your movie-going experience to the next level. Whether its lunch and a matinee, dinner and a movie, or a late night flick with a nightcap and slice of cake, we will carry over the care, creativity and whimsy we have with our baked goods into meals that are perfect for sharing all the best moments with.
In the next six weeks, we will be continuing to work on the major renovations as well as installing fixtures, building out permanent shelving and seating, and so much shopping. We also plan to begin preparing for posting job positions once we are confident that we have an accurate timeline for start dates. We will be posting and circulating information about these postings, and will prioritize BIPOC and 2SLGBTQIA+ candidates, but we will give all applications a thorough review before making any decisions. Being employers is not something we take lightly, both in the sense of trusting folks with how our business is portrayed and in the responsibility of caring and supporting our employees financially, professionally and relationally. We are committed to the identity of Pinch, and that will always include caring for the people on both sides of the counter.
While 2022 was incredibly formative for Pinch, we are ready and excited for all that 2023 is going to bring, and how we can show up for you in the way you have continuously shown up for us. Beyond an incredible year for us, we have been been fortunate to raise $1,200 towards local social supports in Hamilton, like the Woodland Cultural Centre, ACORN, SOPEN, HESN, Community Fridges and Out of the Cold. We’ve always believed that Pinch was something worth fighting for, and your support and joy has made it all the more apparent that Hamilton wants TREATS! For the mouth, for the eyes, for the soul - we can’t wait to share our joy with you, and get to bring joyful treats for so many years to come!
Stef & Amanda