The Bon Ton Bakery story begins in a quiet, developing neighbourhood in Edmonton in 1956. Well, it really starts in 1923 in a small town in Hungary, when a wee lad who would one day open a bakery was born. But let’s pick up our story when the baking begins.
Eugene (Gene) Edelmann, with his wife Judy, moved to Edmonton in 1956. After seven years of baking in Toronto, they felt the west held the most opportunity, and Edmonton, the most need for a unique, ethnic bakery.
With $3,000 in hand, Gene and Judy bought equipment, an oven, ingredients and storefront furnishings. Bon Ton Bakery opened with one goal in mind—to create the finest bread and pastries with quality ingredients and no compromises.
Bon Ton’s first location was at Tower Shopping Centre at 113 Avenue and 116 Street. It wasn’t long before our rye breads, Danish pastries and croissants were selling like hot cakes. Correction. Better than hot cakes.
By 1959, a larger space was needed so everything was packed up and moved to our current location, which at the time, was in the town of Jasper Place, west of 149 Street.
Fast-forward a few years, Hilton Dinner, a partner in a local bakery visited the Bon Ton. Hilton and Gene became friends, enjoying lunches every few months. As retirement approached, Gene looked for someone to take over Bon Ton that would respect the tradition he and his family had built.
In 1998, Eugene retired and a new chapter began with Hilton and Michelle Dinner, our new owners, at the helm.
Over the past 18 years, we’ve expanded our product offerings, staying current with trends and the growing Edmonton food culture. In 2010, we renovated, adding more space and more products.
Looking back, things have certainly changed since that first day in 1956. But the important things have stayed the same.
Our bakery team represents at least 10 different countries across the world. You might think that’s strange for a local bakery. We don’t think it’s strange. We think it’s one of our best features.
We love our people. They are dedicated (putting up with sometimes ridiculous baking hours), patient (you’ve got to be patient to wait for things to rise), creative and just as obsessed about baking as we are.
Just like baking, it takes the right ingredients, and the right environment to create that perfect creation. Our people are no exception. Each brings their unique traits, abilities and experience to make Bon Ton who we are.
Many of our team members have stayed with us for over 5, 10, 20 and more years. Like we said, dedicated and just a little crazy.
Meet Our Team
When Hilton walked into his previous bakery for the first time, he instantly felt at home. After living in two other countries and gaining experience in other industries, he knew that a bakery was his calling. Hilton and his wife, Michelle, took over the Bon Ton Bakery in 1998. After hands on experience in another neighbourhood bakery, as well as varied experiences of travel and work, Hilton brings a wealth of knowledge to our business.
If you ask Michelle what role she plays in the bakery, she will modestly say she helps wherever she’s needed. But we know it is more than that. Michelle was an English teacher, before joining Hilton in 1998 as the new owners of Bon Ton. Her experience as a teacher, as well as her travels and living in a number of countries has made her organized, efficient and wonderful with customers and staff. She also holds the very important, and the best of all bakery jobs, quality control.
Hilton and Michelle have grown children and are loving grandparents.
It really was fate that Gerry ended up as our General Manager and a Bon Ton stakeholder. Originally meeting Hilton in 1995 while managing another food business, their paths continued to cross. In 2005, after starting a new job, Gerry reconnected with Hilton and Michelle, while selling packaging supplies to the bakery. When Hilton and Michelle were seeking a manager for Bon Ton, Gerry was the natural choice and in 2006 Gerry officially joined our team.
Over the past 10 years, Gerry’s knowledge of bread, baked goods and our processes has grown exponentially. He now has a healthy appreciation for our baking team.
When Gerry is away from the bakery, he is spending time with his family, riding his motorbike, enjoying the outdoors and documenting it all with his camera.
When 10 year old Gabor pulled his first batch of buns out of the oven that was it. The feeling of delight and contentment stuck with him. Gabor began his baking career by attending a three year patisserie trade school. He gained experience managing 30 bakers, butchers and cooks while baking and cooking for 4000 enlisted men. Wanting to expand his baking knowledge, he moved to Bavaria for three years to learn about bread. He returned to his home country of Hungary and established and ran his own bakery with 30+ employees, for over 15 years. Wanting to expand his knowledge, he completed a pastry chef master course in 2008. In 2010, Gabor moved to Canada to run a bakery in St. Albert. He joined the Bon Ton team in 2012.
With his wife and children, Gabor lives on an acreage outside the city. He spends his free time tending to his sheep, chickens, rabbits and organic garden.