Rocket Bakery, serving fresh coffee and food since 2011
Posted on September 10, 2021 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments
Rocket Bakery opened on Water Street in downtown St. Johns, N.L. in March of 2011, following the closure of Auntie Crae’s. The venture began with a team of five, including current owners and operators Kelly Mansell, Dave Hopley and Mark McGann. After over 10 years in business, Rocket continues to offer fresh coffee and food with its own twist.
Naming the Business
Inspiration behind the name largely came from a love of ‘60s and ‘70s cartoons. Mark had another business with a rocket logo, which Kelly says the team thought “was fun, positive and iconic, so we called it Rocket Bakery and Fresh Food.”
The name is also a tribute to N.L. and its well-known nickname (‘the Rock’), and the tradition of local musicians ‘rocking it’ on location.
On Rocket’s menu, you’ll find a variety of foods made with locally-sourced ingredients. Patrons can indulge in bakery classics like scones, cookies, croissants and sinful cinnamon buns, or choose a healthier option like soup, salad or a sandwich. Rocket also takes a healthy twist on a N.L. classic — fish cakes that are baked instead of fried. One of their most popular items, Mansell estimates that they’ve sold about 175,000 fish cakes since opening.
With vegan and gluten free options, there’s something for everyone at Rocket. Mansell commented “a key to our success is we have something for the mom who’s vegan, nan who wants something more traditional and the teenager looking for something hearty. We’re really family oriented and enjoy that part of the business, people of all ages and lifestyles are welcome.”
After seven years in business, Rocket expanded by opening a second location in Churchill Square in 2018. Smaller than their downtown store, ‘Baby Rocket’, as it is lovingly known, is a takeout location with limited seating.
One year later in 2019, Rocket opened a third location in Mount Pearl after finding a mature building with a similar layout to their original Water Street location. Mount Pearl has become Rocket’s new HQ, since the pandemic and a location change for their downtown store. Still on Water Street, Rocket’s new electric blue building between Yellowbelly Brewery and The Celtic Hearth suits the brand well. Currently open for grab-and-go orders only, seating will be added after renovations.
More Fuel in the Tank
Today, Rocket Bakery’s three locations continue to operate with a hybrid of in-store service and online pre-orders.
As for the future, they hope to try wholesale again once they get back in their groove of daily production. Mansell also sees big growth potential for the Rocket brand, but said that may require external business expertise. Though, while reflecting on the business they’ve built, Kelly commented: “If people think they can’t start something because they don’t know how, we’re proof that if you’re interested, want to learn and have a passion, then it’s possible to do anything.”
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