MEET Tyler Duft and Cassandra Crocco, Owners of Duft and Co. Bakehouse IN HISTORIC DOWNTOWN ABBY.
Q: Tell US about Duft and Co. What led to this dream?
Cassandra: Tyler and I wanted to start our own businesses before we even met, so when we started dating the conversation naturally flowed. We decided to go to Europe and spent six months going to all the coffee shops and bakeries that we could find.
We returned with inspiration and starting writing down recipes. I’m a pastry chef and Tyler is a savoury chef. We had all the pieces, but weren’t sure which avenue to take. And, then we thought, “We work really hard for other people, so why wouldn’t we for ourselves?” At some point, you want to be creative on your own terms.
Tyler: We decided it was better to lose sleep and sweat for ourselves rather than someone else, and Abby was a European community that loved bread and pastries. There used to be a bakery where this little, older Ukrainian lady made the best rye bread and butter buns. Every Christmas, it was my job to pick up the rye bread.
Cass and I just knew that it was an appropriate time to give the community back what it once had access to. We grew up eating real food, made by hand. We don’t do it the European way, we simply do it the old-fashioned way, the way things were.
(Tyler & staff at Duft and Co.)
Q: From the moment you arrived on the scene, what have you experienced from the community?
Tyler: The Valley had a deficit. Vancouver is a great food city--you can get everything from Korean to Russian—but, this side of the Valley was still growing up and we knew that it was a calculated risk to move here.
Cassandra: We wanted to create a place where our customers felt like they were sitting in our living room, as though we made it just for them. I feel like the whole town has rallied together to support us and that’s a really neat feeling.
Abby was ready for a concept like Duft and Co. We have welcomed people from all over the Valley, Vancouver, and across the border. And, the downtown businesses of like-minded people are amazing. It’s the best thing to ever happen to Abby. We all want to make Abby a better place-- where people want to stay here-- and love hearing that we have inspired others to pursue their dreams. Our collective thinking is community over competition.
Tyler: We love seeing people enjoy what we have created and want to hit every high note. It’s about tasting, feeling, and smelling the love. We were the new kids on the block, but have been so lucky that the result has been positive.
(Tyler & Cassandra in Historic Downtown Abby)
Q: Are you happy living here? What are your future plans?
Tyler: I grew up here. We love visiting local farms and seeing the food grown that we eat. We have a beautiful landscape from creeks, rivers, and lakes to snow-capped mountains and the ocean is within an hour’s drive. Not many places can make a claim like this. I have never been more optimistic about the future. Our small town has been given a dose of much-needed culture. We are seeing a turning of the tides and we are fortunate to be a part of this paradigm shift.
Cassandra: We are expanding and launching Duft and Co. Brickhouse soon! We’re full of ideas, and opening a restaurant was one of them. The Brickhouse is a small, casual eatery with good food like roasted meats, home-made sausages, wood-fired pizza and local drinks. We love the growth that is happening in historic downtown Abby and want to continue our journey here. Duft & Co Brickhouse is just another way for us to share our love of food.
(Tyler & Cassandra visiting a local farm)