New Kid on the Block – Rocket Bakery & Fresh Food

Posted: May 19, 2011

The list of ‘must-do’s’ when you're in the city of St. John’s, NL always includes a walk on Water Street.

Rocket Bakery signThe oldest street in North America is a favourite with tourists and locals alike – yummy restaurants, cool boutiques, quaint pubs, fun shops – you name it! 

Now a new spot has opened its doors - joining the perennial favourites like O’Brien’s Music Store and Erin’s PubRocket Bakery & Fresh Food.

Filling in the space that was once Auntie Crae’s for almost a decade and before thatNeyle-Sopers hardware store for nearly 100 years - this new kid on the block is certainly a fresh and truly tasty addition to the 'must-do' mix.


We wanted to get the scoop on this cool place so what follows is our Q & A (as they say) with Rocket Bakery’s mission control…

SABS: Love the name Rocket Bakery who came up with that?

Rocket Bakery: Coming up with the name was definitely a "team effort".  First of all, Newfoundland is affectionately known as "The Rock", so that's where we started.  Music is important to all of us, so we wanted our business to be a place where musicians could feel at home and where people could expect to hear some great tunes.  We knew we'd be spelling "Rock-It" for people all the time and "Rocket" seemed so much fun! 

Rocket BakeryPlus, we love iconic cartoon imagery from the 50s and 60s and the rocket was a perfect fit there, too.  Coincidentally, Rocket Bakery & Fresh Food can be shortened to Rocket BFF and nothing can be better than that!

SABS: The great team behind this exciting new business is a cool one and everyone brings their own talents to the mix -

Rocket BakeryGive us the players and their roll role at Rocket Bakery…  

Rocket Bakery: Four of the five partners met in Vancouver over 25 years ago! 

Mark McGann - Rocket's General Manager, Mark spent over 17 years in the film industry in Toronto and Vancouver in set dec. and is the artist behind Rocket's rocket icon.  Mark spearheaded the reno of Rocket's space and is currently taking care of sons, Jesse and Callum, in Toronto and getting ready for the family's big move to St. John's on July 1.  Mark, Jesse and Callum are hoping to play lots of hockey and music in their new city!

Rocket BakeryKelly Mansell - Rocket's Sales & Marketing Manager, Kelly is also Mark's wife and the mother of Jesse and Callum.  For the past two years, Kelly has been the senior account director at PraxisPR on the Pepsi account, spending a lot of time in Newfoundland as a result, and is also one of the owners of the Comrags store on Queen Street West in Toronto.  Kelly is looking forward to spending time near the ocean, playing music and immersing herself in the St. John's community. 

Rocket Bakery  Kim Winsor, Dave Hopley and Al Smickersgill support Rocket Bakery and Fresh Food with their various areas of expertise.

Dave Hopley is a local entrepreneur in St. John's.  He co-owns Pi, a gourmet pizzeria in downtown St. John's and, along with Rocket owner, Kim Winsor, owns Living Planet, a t-shirt printing and retail enterprise, and JohnnyRuth, a designer clothing retailer.  Dave is a huge fan of the local music scene in St. John's and doesn't miss many live performances!  Dave's son, Sam, works at Rocket!

A St. John's native, Kim Winsor owns JohnnyRuth and Living Planet with fellow Rocketeer, Dave Hopley.  Kim is applying her over 20 years of retail experience to the human resources and customer service side of the Rocket business.  "Integrity is one of the principles that fuel my energy and passion," she says.  "It's a necessary element for keeping Rocket flying high!" Kim loves spending time in her Battery home and cooking for friends.

SABS: You go beyond the traditional bakery with the products you carry - what are you most excited about?

Rocket BakeryRocket Bakery: Our products are a reflection of the varied talent we have at Rocket.... we're encouraging everyone to explore their interests, be it in the coffee division, bakery, cake decorating, salads and fresh food or customer service.... we have something new going on here everyday and that's exciting to us!

SABS: As a LOVER of coffee - it's good to know you're taking it seriously

Rocket Bakery:Yes, we've got a coffee team that's truly interested in coffee and who are focused on delivering an excellent cup as well as product knowledge about the coffee we've chosen to carry here at Rocket:  Rufino Coffee and Espresso from Vaughn, Ontario. 

Rocket BakeryIt's all about the finer details..... grinding by the cup, temperature control, fresh coffee, filtered water and careful preparation by a great team headed up by our resident coffee geeks, Matt Reynolds and John Howse!


SABS: Be hard to hang your shingle on Water Street and not include music in your mix - how are you guys bringing that to Rocket Bakery?

Rocket Bakery: Well, we believe there isn't a better place in Canada to find such a concentration of great musical talent than St. John's.  So, our aim is to have music happening here as much as possible. 

Rocket BakeryWe have a great venue on the third floor called the Rocket Room that offers a fabulous acoustic experience for about 150 people. 

We've already hosted Weakerthans lead singer John K Samson along with musical troubadour Jim Bryson and, last week, The Once held one of their pop-up shows here. 

We're hoping to have more and more shows like that as time goes on.  In addition, on the ground floor, our Orbit Room, which seats about 30 people, plays host to the Rocket Players, a small group of musicians who play traditional music every Tuesday at lunch.  Starting next week, we'll be having a jazz trio play on the weekend as well as one evening each week.

SABS:  Love the "Wish List" section on your website - where folks can make requests for products they'd like you to carry...would have filled that out but since I've got you here...any chance you could bring in some sort of machine to make yummy cakes, cookies and every other serving of lasagna calorie free? 

Rocket BakeryRocket Bakery: Glad you asked, Stephanie!  Here at Rocket, we believe that the faster you chew the more calories you burn so feel free to eat as much Rocket Food as you like!  😉


For all things Rocket Bakery visit

1 Comment »

  1. Love the store the food and the great staff . My sweet husband ordered Mother's Day supper there for 10 of us so we didn't lift a finger in preparations that day {he even did the dishes}. Thanks Rocket for your delicious salads and the wonderfully decorated chocolate butter icing cake. I hear everything you prepare there is awesome so needless to say we will drop by and check out some of your other foods . Stella

    Comment by Stella — May 20, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

Leave a comment

Like us on Facebook for updates, contests and MORE!!!