Hi GetAssist readers! My name is Candice and I run the Cocoa Tree Bake Shoppe in Olds, Alberta. At Cocoa Tree, we make cakes for all occasions—whether it’s a cake shaped like a hot dog or a four-tiered, sugar-flowered wedding cake. We started our small business in 2009, because my family was good at baking (an obvious requirement) and I had an artistic flare. Since then, we have expanded with Fair Trade coffee and tea, and we sell little treats like cupcakes daily. Our goal from the first day was to start a shop that used all-natural ingredients without preservatives. We wanted to go back to the basics of baking, and supporting Fair Trade helps us further that mission.
What does Fair Trade mean?
Fair Trade is knowing where your products come from. It’s helping those who work hard and making sure they get a fair wage. Fair Trade’s mission is to teach disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage, by creating quality products and receiving just compensation. Fair Trade is most often referenced when it comes to coffee, but it is so much more than that. From apparel to body care, Fair Trade has expanded outside of the kitchen too.
Why I Chose Fair Trade at my Company
One day I came across Fair Trade products at a town function, where they featured a film on the chocolate industry called “The Dark Side of Chocolate.” We were unfamiliar with how bad the industry was until we watched the film! Our business is named after the “Cocoa Tree” so how could we sell anything but Fair Trade? It was a turning point, and now all our Chocolate, coffee and tea is Fair Trade Our sugar is locally sourced, so we don’t have to worry about it being Fair Trade. Most of the sugar Alberta produces gets sent overseas, but my bulk supplier informed me that the sugar we get are from the Alberta sugar beets, which I thought was awesome!
Did you know Olds is the first town in Alberta to become a Fair Trade town? I’m so proud to be a part of such a great community.
How Fair Trade Businesses Help our Community
Seventy-three percent of money spent on local goods is reinvested in the community, while only 10 percent of money spent at major chain stores makes it back into the local economy.
I choose Fair Trade at Cocoa Tree because I like communities to thrive, and if I can’t buy it locally I need to make sure the products that are coming from overseas are helping the communities in the places they are coming from. When someone buys a Fair Trade brownie at our shop they have contributed to a community overseas and at the same time invested in their very own community! Buying a brownie at a chain store for half the price isn’t going to have the same effect.
What my Customers Think
Most of our customers appreciate our Fair Trade products and a few are still learning about it. I joined the Fair Trade committee in Olds and we organize events that bring awareness for Fair Trade. We set up tables at markets and we recently hosted a Fair Trade Mother’s Day tea. The Olds high school even just had a leadership conference and got it certified as a Fair Trade event! Only Fair Trade coffee and tea was served and they had the Fair Trade Canada representative speak at the event. Even though Olds is a Fair Trade town, we still are bringing awareness to those who may not understand it. And hey, if it wasn’t for this committee, Cocoa Tree would never have found the need to transform into what it is today!
GetAssist would like to sincerely thank Candice for educating us on the importance of Fair Trade and supporting our communities. Check out her bakery, their delicious treats are a must-have in Olds!
Want to learn more about Fair Trade? Click here if you’re in Canada and here if you’re in the U.S. And if you run a small business, are an industry expert or consider yourself a community leader and you’d like to guest blog for GetAssist, contact our Marketing Director.