When Stephanie McNees saw the rapid growth of downtown Vancouver happening, she knew that there was no better place to open a shop specializing in fresh-made desserts of all kinds.
McNees wanted to be right there in the action, doing her part in the redevelopment and revitalization of the downtown area, and since June of 2010, she and her team at Treat have been doing just that. McNees shares that since opening, business has been steady, which has allowed her to grow her team of employees significantly.
“It takes a lot of hands to make food from scratch and provide personalized customer service,” she said. “We currently have 14 employees.”
Treat creates all their goodies from scratch daily and they never sell day-old products. Each item is crafted in small batches, one dozen at a time. McNees attributes three things to her success in the last eight years: consistency, a commitment to quality, and the ability to identify changing demands from customers and adapt. For example, this year, they added handmade ice cream to the menu, which was well received. Treat also sells cookies in varying flavors such as salted caramel chocolate chip, as well as flourless chocolate “brookies,” hand pies, cupcakes and much more.
“We’re proud to have been here for eight years, producing in small batches with the highest quality ingredients available,” McNees said. “As Vancouver has grown, so has our community’s knowledge about food – where it comes from and how it’s made. Our open kitchen allows customers to see what’s going into their cookie or ice cream, who’s making it and how it’s made.”
McNees goes on to explain that she believes that a defining characteristic of a great food city is its use of local, seasonal ingredients whenever possible. For this reason, she gets her ingredients from a variety of local sources, including Yakima Valley peaches, Willamette Valley berries, Hood River apples and more. Treat also partners with local purveyors such as Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Cloudforest Chocolate, Freddy Guys Hazelnuts and Jacobsen Sea Salt. In addition, Treat is part of Valrhona Chocolate’s “Cercle V” Group because they use a lot of their chocolate and cocoa powder in recipes.
McNees also makes a point to regularly travel to other “foodie” cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, where she researches and gains inspiration on what she can bring back to her own shop. But, Clark County is where Treat will always have roots and to celebrate their pride in where they’re from and why they’re here, Treat has adopted the social media hashtag #vancouvermade that showcases some of the delicious goodies that are coming out of the kitchen each day.
The future looks especially sweet for Treat. McNees said that she and the team are working on a couple of projects that will be exciting additions to downtown Vancouver. She also shares that they are currently looking to find a larger production space which will allow them to create more products and bolster business.
“We don’t just open a box and add water,” she said. “We are committed to the craft.”
Treat is located at 210 W. Evergreen Blvd., Suite 600, in Vancouver.