Indigenous entrepreneur family cooks up success with Stó:lō Bannock food truck

Jul 29 2022, 9:53 pm

If you’ve been to a festival in Metro Vancouver, a summer fair in the Fraser Valley, or a public event in between, you most likely will have seen the eye-catching red and black Stó:lō Bannock food truck along with long lines to order.

For Marnetta Felix, co-founder of the Chilliwack-based business, what brings people back time and again to try their dishes is three important words.

“Just good food. People love our bannock and other foods that we offer,” said Felix in an interview with Daily Hive. “Some customers that follow us to different events, and we also get private requests ranging from weddings, birthdays, funerals, and fundraisers.”

 

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Stó:lō Bannock was founded by Felix and her twin daughters Joy and Brandee in 2018 and uses a bannock recipe that is over 100 years old. The entrepreneurial trio is Sts’ailes, Skowkale, and Musqueam First Nation.

“Everyone loves Bannock, but not many people can master the art of making Bannock,” said Felix, who lives with her family on the Stó:lō nation. “We specialize in the product. My mother taught me, her mother taught her, I taught my daughter Joy, and then she, in turn, taught Brandee.”

Felix’s mother is Musqueam and her father is Sts’ailes, where she grew up. She also has two grandsons. Joy has Kingston, who will soon be nine, and Brandee has Brayden, who will soon be 17.

Stólō Bannock

Stó:lō Bannock/Submitted

Family is very important to Felix, as they were the ones who inspired her to chase her culinary dreams after a serious car accident ended her career as a court reporter.

“I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but after my accident forced me to change careers, I had to decide what to do,” explained Felix. “I took a culinary arts course at UFV sponsored by Stó:lō Community Futures in Chilliwack and started a small catering company when I completed the course.

Joy and Brandee were always driven to help their mother with starting a business and soon joined her in launching Stó:lō Bannock.

Stólō Bannock

Stó:lō Bannock/Facebook

“Joy has her degree in Business Administration and managed the administrative side while Brandee handled the social media, event connections, and public relations,” Felix said. “We wanted to grow our own produce and use organic as much as possible. So Joy went to farming school and completed it in 2019.

“She now runs Joy Farms, a small farm that provides us with our organic produce. She also partnered with Kwantlen Polytechnic University and provides free produce to low-income families, single parents, and the elderly.”

Joy Farms

Joy Farms/Facebook

Stó:lō Bannock offers a huge variety of delicious bannock dishes from its food truck, including wild salmon bannock sandwiches, bannock burgers, bannock bite tacos, and bannock with homemade jams (Felix’s favourite).

Those who order catering from the company will be treated to baked bannock, bannock pizza, and bannock desserts.

Stólō Bannock

Stó:lō Bannock/Facebook

“We really only had one year of being in full operation before the pandemic hit,” shared Felix. “We thought our business was going to go under, but it has gotten bigger from the few openings we had these last few years.

“We provide bannock to schools in Hope, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Chilliwack, Sardis, and Abbotsford as well as to the local prisons. Our catering went from providing for groups of five to events with a guest list numbering in the hundreds. With Joy Farms providing our produce and Brandee and I operating the food truck and catering business, our next step, hopefully, is to open a restaurant.”

Stólō Bannock

Stó:lō Bannock/Facebook

Another important goal for Stó:lō Bannock is to support as many Pride events as possible in the Fraser Valley and beyond.

“My daughter Brandee is gay and she came out when she was 19 years old,” said Felix. “She is very open about it now and has helped others to come out. But she also shared with us how difficult and depressing it was for her before she told us.

“I was so sorry to learn how difficult it was for Brandee, and both our families, Felix and Halls, are very supportive of her. So now we support and contribute to as many Pride events as we can in the Fraser Valley.

Stólō Bannock

Stó:lō Bannock/Facebook

Stó:lō Bannock recently attended a Pride Chilliwack youth gathering for all the Chilliwack and Sardis schools to help feed almost 200 attendees. The family also gives back to Stó:lō Nation, a big supporter of Pride (two-spirited), by contributing their time and donating bannock for the nation to sell at events.

The team’s hard work in the community has been recognized with a number of awards. They include the 2020 Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Aboriginal Business of the Year, the 2020 Stó:lō Business Awards for Business of the Year (3-10 Person Enterprise), and the 2020 Stó:lō Business Award to Joy Farms for Agricultural Excellence.

Stólō Bannock taco

Stó:lō Bannock/Facebook

Felix gives special thanks to Rocio from Stó:lō Community Futures for helping their food truck find its footing in the early part of the journey.

“It’s difficult starting your own business. The hours are long and not there’s not much pay. I almost quit many times during my first year, if not for Rocio from Stó:lō Community Futures,” said Felix. “He stayed with me, helped me, and encouraged me not to give up.

“This was all new to me and I wish I asked others in the business more questions. There are so many people willing to help, you just have to ask. And in our territory, Stó:lō Business Association and Stó:lō Community Futures are very big supporters of businesses starting out. They are just a phone call away.”

For more information, visit facebook.com/stolobannock.

Daily Hive

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This content was created by Daily Hive's Community Partnerships team.
Daniel ChaiDaniel Chai

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