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Member Spotlight - Mary's Catering

Our next entrepreneur in the member spotlight feature needs no introduction. Mary Holgate of Mary's Catering {and also soon-to-be the operator of the kitchen at Bob's Mini Mart} is well-known in the Nicola Valley for her delicious homemade burgers and fries, amazing pies, community spirit, and popular giveaways on her Facebook page. You can email her, or give her a call at 250-688-1580. 

 


 

Mary! Thanks for taking the time to chat. You are always busy cooking and baking up a storm, so I appreciate it. Tell us a bit about your business and yourself.

 

Good day everyone. I am Mary Holgate, the owner and chef of Mary’s Catering and I'm also excited to soon take over the operations of the kitchen at Bob's Mini Mart. My family moved to Merritt in 1962, this is where I grew up. After high school I moved away and was gone for almost 30 years, I moved back here about 2 years ago. I could see there was a need for a caterer that could work outside the box and fill many shoes such as casual entertaining, where all you need are some salads and trays right through to a formal sit down dinner.

I love to be creative and catering allows me to do that. I make over 90 different kinds of pies and cheese cakes - all homemade. I do everything from scratch;  our burgers are homemade and our fries are hand cut.

I also make freezer meals or as I like to say comfort food such as lasagna, shepherd’s pie, pepper steak, stroganoff, meatloaf etc. Those meals have been a great addition to my business. I have single people who buy multiple meals at a time or working couples and seniors who stock up the fridge. I make family size and individual sizes. I believe cooking good takes love. I love to cook and I love to make people happy with food. I like to think I am making people happy one bite at a time.

 

You certainly are, and I am definitely hungry just talking to you. Your burgers and fries are amazing! What do you see as your customers’ biggest challenge and how do you help with that?

 

I think one of the biggest challenges for my customers is getting real food at a price they can afford. I make everything myself and I don’t do the standard meat and cheese trays that you find in every super market. Mine are made with the customer and event in mind. Everything is made fresh as per order.

 

That makes such a difference! How long have you been in business?

 

I have been cooking for over 30 years. I have worked as head chef at one of the best golf courses in the Columbia Valley, I have worked at a few guest ranches, at a hunting lodge and many restaurants. About 6 years ago I decided to concentrate on catering and taking it to the next level with creativity. I went back to school a couple years ago and took special event planning and a catering course. I have never looked back I love what I do.

 

That really sounds like you're doing what you're meant to do. What do you love most about being a business owner?

 

I think what I like best about being a business owner is working one on one with my clients, being able to customize their meal to their event & personality, to work within their budget, and taking pride in the final product and result. 

 

I love your approach with making sure you don't only cater to the event, but also to your customers' personality! Is there something that you don't like about being a business owner?

 

Mmm, I think what I like least about being a business owner is the inability to turn my brain off. 24/7 all I think about is food, menus and how to get better. I don’t allow myself any down-time.

 

That's a challenge lots of us entrepreneurs can relate to! You just want to keep going all the time, because you're so passionate about what you do! What’s your favourite social media platform and how can your customers connect with you there?

 

I love FB. My FB page has been a lot of fun. I get to interact with my customers and love reading their comments. When I do a give away it’s exciting to see how many people enter and their enthusiasm. Their positive comments keep me wanting to try harder.

 

You're famous for your amazing giveaways, and they are a great example of customer service! What do you love about the Nicola Valley?

 

The thing I love most about Merritt is it is HOME. Even when I moved away I always called Merritt home. My family and friends are here, this is where I grew up. This is home. { THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME}

 

So true. What’s something that people don’t know about you and might be surprised to find out? 

 

Most people are surprised to find out that in Aug 2001 I had a heart attack and in Aug 2016 I had an ICD {implantable cardioverter-defibrillator device} put in. I think this has made me stronger because I don’t see it as a disability I see it as a challenge to prove “ I can do it”. My brother says I am now bionic - haha maybe I am?!

 

You definitely have the energy for it! Last question: How do you give back to your community?

 

I love giving back to the community. Last year I did a fundraiser for the Ty Pozzobon Foundation on rodeo weekend. I named a burger after Ty and gave the proceeds to his foundation. YES - I will be doing it again this rodeo weekend. I just did a fundraiser for the Cody Kehler’s BE the CHANGE Movement. This raised money for CK comfort kits and money to donate to ASK WELLNESS in Cody’s name. We also named a hot dog after him. I also give to various fundraisers and silent auctions in the area. 

 

Your community spirit is truly amazing and contagious. Thanks so much for taking the time, Mary. Now let's have some pie!

 

Thank you for reading and for supporting local business. If you would like to stay up to date on collaborations and deals of the Merritt Small Business Centre and get notified when the next member spotlight is published, you can sign up below.

If you're a business owner and would like to be part of building a thriving small business community in Merritt, the Nicola Valley, and Logan Lake, then come and join us on Facebook

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