PKED caught up with Fresh Dreams located in Downtown Peterborough, Ontario to talk about how they are using the Tourism Resiliency Fund to help their business through recovery from the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Where did the idea/concept for your business come from? (Or just share some important local history of your business)
After running my own successful catering business in Madrid, Spain for a decade one of my dreams was to one day open a restaurant.
When the opportunity to move to Canada presented itself we decided to move and make that dream come true.
Our concept and mission is to show Peterboroughians, Ontarians and Canadians our food, culture, style of cooking and customer service.
The culture around food in Spain is very different from here and we aim to slowly show and teach our community the best parts of the Spanish food culture while merging them with their own culture.
We always cook with fresh products, using the least amount of processed ingredients resulting in fresh, healthy, simple, delicious food.
We also use local fresh ingredients so every guest can buy it in their local grocery stores and replicate our dishes at home while at the same time supporting the local economy.
What has it been like navigating the pandemic with your business? “unexpect complicated time”
This pandemic has affected everyone and we are not the exception.
On one hand we have not been able to go back to Spain to visit our families and to “replenish” our food memories. On the other hand we are worried for our customers and their health, and safety is our first priority.
We have been extremely lucky to have such loyal customers that have helped us through these hard times; by ordering take out, buying gift certificates, online cooking classes, and being understanding of all the restrictions and changes we have had to implement to ensure everyone’s safety.
We are also thankful for the support that the government has given us, as it has allowed us to make it this far.
We hope that this will end soon and we can continue to bring joy to those who visit Fresh Dreams.
What will you be using the TRF funding towards?
At the moment we do not know when this pandemic will end and also believe that in some way the future will never be exactly like it was before.
We are lucky to have a small patio within Fresh Dreams that with the help of the TRF funding we are upgrading with wind stoppers and an outdoor heating system, allowing us to offer patio service for additional months in the year (spring and fall). The most important thing for us is that our customers feel safe and welcomed.
We have made the necessary adjustments based on the guidelines published by the health department to ensure the safety of our customers, staff and community.
What are your hopes for the business in the next few years?
With the changes to our patio, thanks to the TRF fund, we hope to be economically successful for the upcoming years even through the hardships of the current pandemic and its aftermath.
We hope to be able to continue feeding our community with fresh and healthy meals for many years to come.
Our continued mission and goal is to introduce our guests to the culture around food which exist in many countries of Europe. Focusing always on seasonal and local ingredients, making meals more than just food by creating an environment of communication and enjoyment. Improving the health habits of our customers by offering always varied and seasonal menus rich in natural vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.
What is it like owning a business in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?
From day one the community of Peterborough & the Kawarthas has been extremely welcoming. It has made us feel welcome and at home. How our customers embrace our products and enjoy our food has surpassed our expectations. We are lucky to also have access to locally sourced food thanks to the neighbouring farms and clients, which is a staple of our product. Thanks to the local tourism we are also lucky to enjoy visitors from many neighbouring cities.
What makes your business unique to our region?
We are a Spanish restaurant, owned by a Spanish chef.
Having a Chef also being the co owner of Fresh Dreams, changes the priorities of the business.
Our priorities are the quality of the food and service, for this reason we buy local and daily and we do not work with any wholesale restaurant suppliers.
Having the quality of the food as the main priority ensures that our guests will always enjoy excellent dishes when they visit, or work with Fresh Dreams, and an impeccable customer service that makes you feel better than at home, on vacation near the Mediterranean.
What is your favourite thing about living and working in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?
Peterborough & the Kawarthas is a very unique place to live. The people, the scenery, make it very enjoyable to live here. Peterborough in particular gives us the safety of a small town with the commodities of a big city. Being part of such a tight knit community has allowed us to make personal relationships with our customers. Our guests are our friends and when they visit Fresh Dreams we ensure they enjoy a meal as they would at our own home.
PKED is profiling several tourism-dependent businesses that were successful in receiving Tourism Resiliency Funding to support costs associated with adapting to public health measures and safety reopening, which will support the tourism industry’s recovery in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.