Interview: What Community Means to You
Stacey Kohler interviews Cobs Bread franchisee owner Kiran Behl on — What Community Means to You. Kiran has two bakeries located at South Point Annex and at the Semiahmoo Mall which service South Surrey and White Rock.
What does being a part of your community mean to you?
I am a firm believer that you need to do business in the community where you live. I try to connect with my customers, local organizations like Semiahmoo House Society. I am proud to be a part of the South Surrey and White Rock community. It’s very important.
What got you into the baking industry?
I am a bookkeeper by trade, and I am always looking for a good business — something that would do well. I was a single mom who has always been business-driven. I have a degree in business, and it was inevitable for me to buy a business. Baking wasn’t part of the plan, but slowly I learned. I look at bread differently now, it’s amazing what I have learned for this journey.
How long have you owned COBS Bread?
My location at South Point Annex celebrated 20 years this month! I also own the location in Semiahmoo mall at the food court.
What kind of community engagements have you been involved with in the past?
For many years I was a part of Taste of BC (a fun, community fundraising event Semiahmoo House Society used to hold), a lot with SSWR Chamber of Commerce, golf tournaments (sponsorship), the PAHF Pumpkin Run – providing food and snacks, work with the Mayor’s Ball, [Gift cards for the] Ride to Conquer Cancer with the Cancer Society, and quite a bit more. I love it. I enjoy being a part of the community if we don’t do it as business owners then who will. We need to unite and help.
How did you hear about Semiahmoo House Society?
I honestly stumbled across it through the SSWR Chamber of Commerce. When I first bought the South Point (Annex) bakery I met people that were associated with Semiahmoo House Society. This was around the time the building was being built, so I provided bread for the sandwiches for all the workers. Paul Wheeler (previous Executive Director for Semiahmoo House Society) and his wife are good people and I enjoyed doing this.
Have you hired anyone from Semiahmoo House Society?
Yes, I have had two wonderful employees. Both have moved on, but we had fun while we were together!
What made you want to stay engaged with Semiahmoo House Society?
They are a fantastic bunch of people who do amazing work with an amazingly diverse group of people. I admire the relationship we have created. I think it is up to all of us to make a difference in the community. As a business, I support organizations to help them keep going. I hope I can continue to work with Semiahmoo House Society, it’s my pleasure.
This interview was done by Self Advocates of Semiahmoo member, Stacey Kohler for the UNITI 2020 Summer Newsletter.