July 26, 2022

This Food Entrepreneur Turned A Crumbling Heritage Building Into A Bakery & Pied-À-Terre

When the kids finally move out, some people take the opportunity to downsize. Others, like Tracey Pritchard — a food entrepreneur and the creator of a frozen pastry business — find themselves doing quite the opposite. After her last child moved out in 2016, Tracey decamped from her Victorian house in Toronto’s west end to a 3,000-square-foot, early Dutch American– style house in Stratford, Ont., all the while casting about for a small space to run her business, Perfect Pastry. But when Tracey’s son, Nick, a commercial real-estate agent, found a 150-year-old heritage building in neighbouring St. Marys, Ont., small became big — almost 13,000-square-feet big. Tracey knew 6 Water Street well: it was a stone’s throw from her parents’ old 40-hectare farm where her kids had spent their summers; daughter Alex had not only gotten married there, but had stuck around in Stratford. “The building was in rough shape,” says Tracey. “And when I found out it was part of an old flour mill, I just had to have it.” Her friends thought she’d gone mad, but Tracey and Alex hatched a plan: they would open an épicerie and bakery together and call it The Flour Mill Food Shop.

Despite its dilapidated state, “the building had an energy and I immediately felt drawn to it,” says Tracey. She enlisted the help of designer Valerie Farrell, whom she’d met 30 years prior when the pair worked in the restaurant industry together (while Valerie studied architecture). The designer set about carving up the building’s cavernous space into a seamless layout that could house retail and residential, and even host events.

Scroll down for a look inside the revitalized space!