Yesterday, I visited À l’Épi de Blé, the only French bakery I know of in Winnipeg. A friend of mine had recommended it warmly.
The store is located in the North End, which is quite far from my house. But I did not mind the half-hour drive to get there. French delicacies are a rare treat here, so whenever I can get my hand on the real deal, I seize the opportunity.
Opening the door of the store was like being back in my country of birth. The smell was the one to which I am accustomed and that I love so much. I purchased a few pastries (chocolate croissants, tropézienne, and éclairs au chocolat) and some bread, and spent some time chatting with the lovely owners — who happen to be from southern France, like me. I also saw quite a few customers buy things during my 15-minute visit.
As it turns out, the store carries a lot of the stuff I love, including croissants, mille-feuilles and gâteaux des rois. For a city like Winnipeg, with so many French speakers, it is an absolute boon.
Needless to say that everything was delicious. I look forward to being back!
Why am I telling you about a French bakery on this blog? For a simple reason. If my friend had not told me about À l’Épi de Blé, I would have never known such a store existed. I would have missed an opportunity to treat myself to some food that brings wonderful memories. But, most importantly, I would have been unable to recommend the store to all the people I know, and hence help a local business continue serving the needs of the community.
In this day and age, many have forgotten that the online world works exactly in the same way as the offline world. They have turned social media into an experiment that takes audiences for granted. Too often, they forget that these audiences comprise of men and women who have opinions and questions, and want to be entertained and paid attention to.
The most complicated tools will never replace the human voice and its ability to transcend boundaries.
Never underestimate the value of word of mouth. It still is what makes or breaks a brand.