EsquimaltReview.com is now featuring a new series entitled “These are the People in Your Neighbourhood“. In this edition, Esquimalt Residents Association Director Charles Lavoie profiles the family that runs Esquimalt Bake Shop. If you would like to contribute a community profile about an individual, group, organization, or business in Esquimalt, please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Esquimalt: A Place They Call Home
-From Vietnam to Canada
by Charles Lavoie for the Esquimalt Residents Association (ERA)
Profile: Esquimalt Bake Shop owned and operated by Hong Nguyen and Cam Huynh
Over the past 15 years, I have been going regularly to the Esquimalt Bake Shop at Esquimalt Plaza, a real family shop known to many people across our community. Each time, I am impressed with the warm yet professional atmosphere. I have often enjoyed observing the owner, Hong, and her friendly personality at the counter while serving customers and operating the cash register. Certain days over the years, I could see her two children doing their homework or simply drawing. Everyone is greeted with a boisterous “hello” and, when they leave, hear a spirited “thank you”. It is such a refreshing change to feel that you are treated like a human being and not just as another entity with money to collect from.
Who are the owners of the bake shop where locals quickly become regulars? Hong Nguyen and Cam Huynh came to Canada from Vietnam in 1980 as “Boat People”. While he was studying chemistry at the University of Victoria, Cam worked in a bakery at night. Hong worked part time and took care of their daughter Linh and son Loc. During those years, they lived in Colwood. When they heard that there was a bake shop for sale in our community, they decided to relocate to Esquimalt and purchase the bakery.
Cam is a hardworking baker who puts in many hours a week into making delicious treats. As for Hong, she is the counter person. She enjoys serving and interacting with customers. Noticing that people liked to visit the shop and chat with one another, Hong and Cam decided to go one step ahead and applied for a permit to install a few tables and chairs to accommodate a small coffee shop. If you walk by, you will notice people in front of the counter ordering a loaf of bread and some pastries while, along the wall, individuals are sipping a coffee or tea and mingling with others.
As for the “children”, well, they are not children anymore. They are now university students: Linh, 20, in Education and Loc, 19, in Business. One doesn’t need to stay long on the premises to see that the Esquimalt Bake Shop is a place where customers as well as the owners feel comfortable and enjoy each other’s company. As Hong said to me: there are a lot of good people in Esquimalt and this is why she, her husband, and their children call it home.
If you have never been there, I invite you to do so. You will be among friends.