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Sofia and Chris Takas: The “heart” of the sweetest corner in the Community

We welcome today in our newspaper  the renewed page for featured articles with  profiles of important Hellenes amongst us  who dare make a difference. With their  ethos, life achievements, work philosophy and an overall exemplary presence in their family and community around them these  people are amongst us and should be role models for all of us. We welcome them in  our featured profiles pages and wish them all the best in their personal, professional and social lives.
Featured today: Mrs Sophia Takas and her husband Christos (with their family and in-laws, along with their employees and the whole community who have and are supporting them, every step of the way!!)
Sophie Kottas – Takas was born in Toronto to Dimitrios and Agoro Kottas. She got married to Christos Takas in 1991 and had two children, Niko and Effie. She started Kindergarten and P.S. in Toronto and from Gr2 until Gr.6 she  attended in Greece. They opened Serano Bakery in 1994 and since then they have expanded their original store 4fold!!  You can find Serano Bakery at 830 Pape Ave. Toronto

The Interview:

Greek Press: Please refer to your volunteer work and your contribution  in the Associations in the community.  Talk about the multitude of events that “Serano” has sponsored.  Describe your vision for the new generation of Greek Canadians.

Sophia Kottas Takas: I always felt proud of my Greek heritage and background and with Christos being born and raised in Greece we always wanted to pass that pride along to our children as well. Keeping our children involved in soccer clubs, Greek community theatre and dance groups and of course our church was instrumental in maintaining some of our Greek culture.

How did you decide to start a business? Did you find it hard/easy to situate yourself and your business  in the field of strictly male-dominated and cut-throat competitive bakery  business? How did being proud Greek played out in your decisions  and final success? 

Christos was a baker in Greece and we were so young, ambitious to do something more for ourselves and our future family that we decided to open up a Greek bakery. The hardest part
was getting the financing but with  help from my parents we were able to make our dream a reality. With many challenges ahead and hopes of growing our business we knew it  was time to bring on our partner, my brother-in-law Kostas who also was a  baker in Greece.

What would you consider success? What were your dreams before you get involved in this business? Were  you able to achieve all that you ever  wanted? What does the future hold  
for a successful business woman like  you? How did this impact if at all your family life  

It took many years to build the business as there was a  lot of competition and being  so young people wouldn’t take us seriously, many times customers would come into the store and ask to speak to my father! We had a lot of patience and believed that working hard would help us  achieve a successful business.  Our lives have always been working 7 days a week,  the hardest part was trying to balance work and family but we had a lot of help from my parents particularly my  mother who would have the kids from the time the store opened till the end of the day when we would pick them up after the bakery was closed.
We were determined and with time we were able to grow our clientele by always trying our best to
provide the freshest and most genuine Greek/European style products. From bringing our boxes and all our packaging from Greece to maintaining the quality of our products and services it was always been our mission to give our customers the experience of visiting a bakery in Greece.
In the beginning our bakery took up 1/5 of our existing building and eventually we expanded  by opening our Greek food mart in the unit next to us.
Four years ago we grew  again and expanded our business by taking over all 5 units. Keeping with our  mission of maintaining a true evolving Greek bakery experience we hired a design team from Greece to go about redesigning our new space. Again all the fixtures, display cases and fridges were brought over from Greece.
The challenge today is running such a large business while still maintaining the quality of our products as well as employing so many people whom we have grown together over the years as one big family.
Originally our bakery catered to the Greek community but today we have customers coming from all backgrounds and from all over the city.
With so much going on in the world today it makes us extremely proud that we can share our pastries with all people regardless of race and that we’re part of a thriving multicultural community.
Out of high school I went to work for a travel agency on the Danforth and  then went to work for my fathers sign company. It was always my dream to own my own business I just never imagined it would be running a bakery. I feel I have achieved more than I have ever wanted but my greatest
success in life are my two children, Niko and Effie. I’m grateful for all the success and opportunity I have been given and will continue to move forward till the new generation is ready to come  and take over.
Over the years we have always supported all Greek Associations, the Philoptohos, the Churches,
Universities and Colleges and other Fundraising Organizations as much as we could.  The biggest supporter throughout the years has been my husband Christos.
Everyone in my family has helped out, especially my parents and in-laws. I also am fortunate to have a strong group of loving friends around me who are always my cheerleaders in life!!!
Our Loukoumi is the newest edition to the products we offer. Christos always wanted to learn to make it so we sourced out a master loukoumi maker from Greece who shared his family’s recipe  with us and after much trial and error we are happy with  the results. 

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