Part of the secret of Hillcrest Bakery and Deli’s continuing success is that they can still have fun with it, say owners Sheana and David Moyer. (Benedict Lloyd Photography photo)

Part of the secret of Hillcrest Bakery and Deli’s continuing success is that they can still have fun with it, say owners Sheana and David Moyer. (Benedict Lloyd Photography photo)

Hillcrest Bakery and Deli is now White Rock’s oldest-established business

Family-owned business first became part of the scene in the early 1970s

They used to be proud of being the third longest-established business in White Rock.

But David and Sheana Moyer, of Hillcrest Bakery and Deli, recently came to a startling realization: their family-owned business – which first became part of the scene in the early 1970s – was now the most senior in the city.

With that realization, they say, has come a commitment to do everything they can to make sure they hang on to that title – for years to come.

City residents with strong roots in the community, they’ve weathered waves of uptown construction that forced a costly move to new premises – and now the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic – with a combination of innovation, diversification and entrepreneurial survival instincts.

“It’s still a financial struggle, but we’re feeling confident,” said David – who started with the bakery as an employee in 1988 and had worked his way up to night baker before he and Sheana took over the business in 2011.

READ MORE: Bakery owners sell shop after more than two decades

“It’s not as if we’re not going to be here,” said Sheana – who also serves on the executive of the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce.

And they’re not entirely joking when they note that granddaughter Hailey – who has just turned 10 and still likes to come in and help bake on weekends – just may have the natural aptitude to take over the business some day.

And one of the joys is meeting customers who recognize the bakery is still offering many of the same favourites – like sausage rolls and smiley-face cookies – that are part of their own memories of growing up in White Rock.

Founded by baker Nick Groot in 1972, Hillcrest Bakery and Deli was always part of the Hillcrest shopping centre, at Thrift Avenue and Johnson Road, which included the popular Buy-Low supermarket.

For more than two decades, starting in 1989, it was owned by British-trained baker Mike Heywood and his wife Vanessa. When they retired, the Moyers bought the business from them.

Distinction of longest-established business in the city used to belong to White Rock Travel and Cruises, which first hung up its shingle on Johnston Road in 1952. But the venerable agency – while still running – left city limits in November of 2018 for new premises at South Surrey’s Windsor Square.

Five Corners Cafe – a converted former post office – has been a cafe consistently since 1956, but doesn’t count as the longest-established business since it has gone through different incarnations with successive owners (among them Gaynes Grill, Saunders Grill, The Plate, Steve’s Submarines and Franklin’s Five Corners Cafe).

Next to White Rock Travel and Cruises, the longest-established business in town was Penguin Meats, established in Whalley in the late 1950s, but a fixture on Johnston Road from 1964.

Even with a move across the street – after its original building was slated for demolition to make way for the Oceana PARC Retirement Living development – Penguin Meats remained a proud White Rock tradition. But that changed this summer when a corporate decision shifted the company’s focus to its South Surrey wholesale location; shuttering the storefront after close of business on Aug. 1.

The bakery had its own across-the-street move in late 2017, taking over quarters in the Saltaire building (15231 Thrift Ave.) due to the demolition of the Hillcrest Mall to make way for the new towers at Bosa Properties’ Miramar Village.

READ MORE: White Rock tradition continues in new location

The move involved incurring considerable debt, and transitioning the business to a less-travelled location in a construction zone was bad enough – but when COVID-19 hit in March, David said, “we knew we had to figure out something really quickly.”

The bakery’s wholesale business was hit hard and so were cake sales – nobody was throwing any parties, he said.

But with the challenges have come new opportunities.

“Our home deliveries started doing really well,” David said (the bakery delivers six days a week, free of charge for orders of $10 or more within a 10 km radius).

“We’ve had so many people ask us not to stop deliveries, even after COVID is done, so we’ve decided to keep on doing that. And we started to really update our website and add e-commerce in, which is something we might not have done so soon.”

Mindful of the way locals – including seniors – had relied on Penguin Meats for smaller cuts, Hillcrest has partnered with Bonetti Meats of Langley to bring in smaller quantity orders, with a system in place of ordering Monday for delivery or pick up Friday.

There’s a bonus in that the partnership has made it possible for the deli operation to provide a greater variety of sandwiches, Sheana said.

And the bakery has also been hard at work refining a pet project – creating beer-friendly baked goods and snacks from the ‘spent’ grains from breweries and brew pubs – and a whole range of products are now available.

“It’s been a steep learning curve, but the only way you’re going to survive in business is to be able to change with the needs of the community,” Sheana said.

“We consider ourselves an essential service.”

BusinessCoronavirusWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Photo: MOSAIC/Facebook)
Organization receives $10K from B.C. government to tackle racism in Surrey, White Rock

Funding to go toward forum for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

Sports broadcaster and 30-year high school football coach Farhan Lalji. (Image via
Farhan Lalji chats about the new B.C. high school sports governance proposal

Lalji, a 30-year high school football coach, thinks the new proposal will be bad for student athletes

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘In grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

Demonstrators will walk through Vancouver for the first two days before boarding a ferry Sunday morning

Most Read