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Owners giving away Kamloops bakery to contest winner

This is complicated.

But the bottom line is someone will become the new owner of Erwin's bakery in Kamloops in an innovative contest that costs $1,000 to enter.

"We want the next owners of our business to have the best chance of success," said Robyn Haley, who owns and operates Erwin's Fine Baking & Delicatessen with her husband, Shawn Haley.

"A key component to that is having a debt-free business able to respond to the economy and opportunities -- something we didn't fully feel equipped to do after taking over the business ourselves."

Giving away a business to a contest winner is a first in BC.

It was Robyn who came up with the idea to hand over the business using a skills-based contest.

</who>Robyn and Shawn Haley are the owners and operators of Erwin's Fine Baking & Delicatessen.

The contest is being touted with verbiage such as:

- This is an amazing opportunity to secure an established business with an absolute minimum investment.

- This BC business is proud to launch this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for aspiring bakers and entrepreneurs

- Now, they are searching for the perfect candidate or candidates to carry on their legacy through a unique skills-based contest.

</who>Erwin's is located at 419 Mount Paul Way in Kamloops.

So, here's how it works.

Anyone who is a Canadian resident (except Quebec), at least 19 and interested in becoming the new owner of Erwin's can write an essay outlining why they would be the best fit, including details about their baking, business and management experience.

With this being a Canada-wide contest, the new owner could be someone who already lives in Kamloops or could be someone who wants to move to Kamloops for the entrepreneurial lifestyle of owning and operating Erwin's.

</who>Besides the bakery and deli, Erwin's also has some specialty groceries and prepared take-home foods.

The hope is the new owner will continue with the Erwin's name and legacy, which started 52 years ago.

However, the new owner will be their own boss and could change the name and tweak the business concept.

But the business will continue to be a bakery at its core with a specialty in fresh-made breads, pastries, cookies and pies.

The essay has to be submitted through the website along with a $1,000 entry fee.

Erwin's has sorted out all the legalities of this and has hired two independent judges to handle the contest.

</who>The skills contest to give Erwin's away was co-owner Robyn Haley's idea.

While the contest winner will essentially get the bakery for $1,000, the Haleys will essentially collect $500,000 in the transaction to retire.

That's right, while not actually selling the business, the Haley's will get the entry fees from the 500 minimum number of entries outlined in the contest's rules.

The contest will run until July 20.

If the minimum number of 500 entries isn't met by then, the contest may be extended by three months to Oct. 20.

If the minimum number of 500 entries isn't met by then, the contest will be closed and all entry fees will be refunded.

</who>Erwin's specializes in baking breads, pastries, cookies and pies.

Erwin's bakery is valued at $395,000.

That includes Erwin's well-known name and outstanding reputation, recipes, procedure manuals, bakery equipment, store fixtures, the website with e-commerce and two weeks of hands-on training with the Haleys.

The Haleys do not own the building Erwin's is in at 419 Mount Paul Way.

So the contest winner and new owner will also have to be vetted by the building owner/landlord and if approved will continue to have to pay rent for the bakery space.

Erwin's was started in 1971 by Erwin and Elisabeth Nykelfer and Erwin still lives in Kamloops.

The founders sold the bakery to their friends, the Haleys, 15 years ago.

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