Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michal Lavi, the founder of Sidewalk Citizen Bakery and Park by Sidewalk Citizen, an artisan bakery, deli and a restaurant, in Calgary, Canada.

Tell us all about your business...

We are a local artisan bakery, deli and a restaurant. Our business grew from a one man bike delivery "operation" with the support of Calgary's awesome community. We use local and organic flours, have a strong focus on vegetarian and vegan options. It takes three days to make our bread. Many of our customers have been with us from the beginning, when they got their bread delivered to their house :)

What's your background and motivation to grow as a business owner?

My partner, Aviv, started the bakery. Declining a finance job in Toronto, he wanted to incorporate his passion for sourdough and his commitment to the environment. I joined in shortly after, leaving a downtown job, to build our dream. We love what we do. We are fortunate to have a talented, creative and hard working team of people working together to put out the best product we can. Many of our customers became friends and it is heartwarming to see familiar faces. It has challenges as well, and certainly the pandemic presented one. It made us realize further the strength and loyalty of our customers and Calgarians commitment to supporting local business.

As an entrepreneur, what does success ultimately mean to you?

Maintaining ongoing long lasting relationships with staff, local business and suppliers and customers.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being an entrepreneur?

You are constantly on edge to stay good and true to your product and your value and balance costs and labour with sales. Your revenue can sway and there is always an element of unpredictability. The pandemic is a good example.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?

Mentally prepare it is going to take some time and might be bumpy. Watch your costs carefully. Form honest, good relationships from the start with your suppliers and customers.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

It's been a crazy, wonderful, at times frightful and difficult, but always interesting and exciting ride.

Where can people find you online?

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as an entrepreneur or business coach that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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