Feliks Sowa and his wife Stanisława, open their first bakery in the old town house on Pomorska Street in Bydgoszcz. The bakery, and later also a confectionery, has successfully operated to this day. Beginnings aren’t easy. Strict national system, absolute rules, lack of stock or working hands and a very limited craft – those are just some of the challenges that we have to battle. All this encourages us even more, generating fresh ideas.
The post-war period, and the beginnings of the communistic era turn out to be very difficult for any kind of self-owned business. Demand is growing, but getting a sufficient amount of needed ingredients is a real challenge. “Food rationing was so low at that time, that the most needed flour or sugar had to be bought in a regular store, and because such merchandise was limited equally for everyone, we had to manoeuver a lot. Everybody helped: family, friends and sometimes even some kind strangers. 5 kg in every 10 stores or so, it was really something!” – says Stanisława Sowa.
The bakery operates so well, that the owners decide to employ their first workers: one helps with the production, the other one runs the shop. But soon even they can’t catch up with a rapid stream of daily work. More apprentices and a journeyman are hired. After 67 years Cukiernia Sowa employs over 550 experienced and specialized workers, able to successfully compete with the biggest pastry and confectionery authorities in the world.
Feliks Sowa receives his Pastry Master’s degree. Using traditional home recipes, he bakes his first, original cake. Back then cakes with lots of often much too sweet and thick cream are the most popular. Baker’s intuition tells Feliks, that such a delicacy should be light and simple. Soft sponge cake, over fruity jam, covered with dense milk chocolate quickly becomes a hit!
“We were very lucky” – says Stanisława Sowa. “Our bakery was rather small and the government allowed us to run our own busines, because they put a strategic hope in such small but efficient food manufacturers. We were operating under national protection. Back then, many similar private ventures were either closed or taken over. The idea was simple: if, in case of national danger, a big and centralised bakery was destroyed, damage would be huge and effective. Small manufactures, scattered all around the country, guaranteed a much safer option. Post-war conflicts lasted for a very long time, and therefore nothing was certain.” – she adds.
Our offer is still quite poor. Only 5 different kinds of pastries and not many more types of bread. Reason? Obligatory national permission for literally every smallest crumb. Also limited and deficient recipes, a norm back then, made tastes that we know so very well today, simply impossible to achieve.
Adam Sowa, the younger son of Feliks and Stanisława, tempted with exceptional bakery aromas and involved in intensive help, joins the family business. A year later, just like his father, he receives Pastry Master’s degree. As he says, even though he chose to study construction, pastry defined his way of living. Baker’s work requires sacrifice. Day and night.
Recognition of the brand grows higher. More satisfied customers spread the good word. Golden doughnuts with homemade fruit preserves become a sensation! Decision is made: first branch store is opened. Soon Sowa’s baked goods can be bought on Bydgoszcz Grain Market.
Adam Sowa and his wife form a business partnership. New name for the company is given: Pastry & Bakery Adam Sowa. The company grows, employing more people and creating a new range of products. Of course under the Master’s experienced eye.
Idea of a place, where one could enjoy delicious cake to a freshly ground, aromatic coffee, becomes real. First coffee shop by Adam Sowa opens on Dworcowa Street and quickly becomes the most favourite meeting place in Bydgoszcz.
By the end of 1997, construction of the second and bigger production facility begins. Growing appetite for our confectionery becomes demanding: lack of space, people and much needed equipment basically don’t leave a choice. New facility, after a significant expansion, opens a year later on Schulza Street in Bydgoszcz. Today it’s the company’s headquarters.
New production possibilities let us develop our new stores, often with characteristic, stylish interiors and functionality of a coffee shop. Dacquise, Royal Slice and original cupcakes quickly become acclaimed favourites and symbols of the brand. Many of the stores are located in shopping malls in Bydgoszcz and Toruń, which, as turns out later, is one of the company’s best marketing decisions.
In the heart of the city, on Mostowa Street, our first restaurant with the original menu and climatic winery is opened. International cuisine from around the world with a distinct accent of home-made Polish food is served, marking a whole new chapter in our history.
Bydgoszcz residents gradually become part of the global culture, bringing their tradition onto European grounds. Sowa’s sweet goods are its inherent worth. Our stores abroad are opened. First in London, then 4 years later in Berlin. Soon we also open our first cake and coffee shop in Warsaw. Hot ‘coffee as you fly’ at Chmielna becomes a stylish trend on the main streets of the Polish capital.
More than half of a century of our sweet tradition is really a lot of valuable time. Festive celebration seems to be so well deserved. Our dear guests pass on their appreciation by supporting those most in need. A beautiful gesture for a good cause and... a great party until dawn. Sweets and smiles for everyone!
We decided to modify our visual identity. To refer to the tradition and emphasize the brand, we have changed the logotype, i.e. the lettering styling. We also unified the colors. From now on, the logo is based on a warm brown, associated with the taste of chocolate.
We make a decision: a partial reconstruction of the pre-war appearance of Mostowa Street. Result? A completely new, three-story tenement house with a modernist shape,
with reference to the classic style. With an exclusive restaurant, an atmospheric bistro, a cafe and a fashionable music club. Today, not only our pride, but also a recognized showcase of Bydgoszcz.
A year later, we take up another challenge: our own, proprietary brand of chocolate. Our original recipe is created in Paris, under the watchful eye of the greatest chocolate masters and is now a sweet, family secret.
Growing popularity of our branded cafés inspires our next big idea: own brand of fresh, aromatic coffee, traditionally roasted in our own roasting plant. Sowa Caffé is a mix of carefully selected, 100% pure arabicas from South and Central America, with a distinct aftertaste of chocolate, baked bread, almonds and dried fruits. A perfect match for our cakes and desserts.
Time for the next generation has come. Michał and Aleksandra Sowa join the family partnership. Michał specializes in business organization and management. Aleksandra, now also a Pastry Master, manages production process and, inheriting passion for creation and traveling hobby, is responsible for developing new ranges of tastes and flavours. Now, the company’s future depends also on their ideas and commitment.
We won third place at the "Coppa delMondo della Gelateria" World Ice Championships in Rimini, Italy. In addition, our team consisting of Aleksandra Sowa, Paweł Małecki, Michał Doroszkiewicz, Maciej Pięta and Mariusz Buritta was awarded a special prize in the best ice sculpture category.
The Sowa Patiserie offers cakes to order, cakes, desserts, ice cream and bread and we grow everyday. On June 20, 2018, we opened a 160 point of sale located in Galeria Słoneczna in Radom.
We are introducing a new type of chocolate to Poland. This extraordinary sweet with a characteristic pink color is created using RUBY cocoa beans without the addition of dyes and flavors. It owes its unique shade to roasting the beans in an appropriate way, without the fermentation stage. The chocolate has fresh, acidic notes of blackberries and raspberries.
We made sure to prepare the next generation of confectioners for work in our patisseries. For this purpose, we have signed an agreement to create a patron class of the Sowa Confectionery at the First Degree Industry School of Craft and Entrepreneurship in Bydgoszcz. Fits with the legendary saber of Jan Kiliński were achieved by excellent guild masters. From September 1, the confectionery class students started learning how to bake delicacies using proven family recipes.
In October, we took part in the famous World Confectioners Championship in Italy, organized by Federazione Italiana di Pasticceria, Gelateria e Cioccolateria. The prestigious title and honorable first place went to Jownia Woszczyńska, who works with Paweł Małecki in the decorator of the Sowa Patisserie. She decorated her cake with motifs referring to the paintings of the leading representatives of Young Poland: Jacek Malczewski and Władysław Ślewiński.