Bakery embraces happiness and delicious treats in the Downtown core


Olha Prytkova and her husband Anatolii Prytkov are making a name for themselves with a business dedicated to giving Londoners a sweet taste of happiness.

Happiness Coffee and Desserts opened its doors at 430 Wellington St. back in August, offering customers European style coffee and desserts, including cakes, macarons, chocolates and other sweet treats.

“Here in Canada, cakes are too sweet, a lot of sugar. When you are eating cake it’s hard to feel the flavour,” Olha says. “If you close your eyes, you won’t even know the flavour. I try to put less sugar in. When people taste it, they taste the raspberries or whatever is inside. People have been really excited for that.”

Olha and her family have been in Canada for just two years, moving to Winnipeg from their home in the Ukraine, before deciding — after a couple of Prairie winters — it might be time to try somewhere else.

The couple narrowed their choices down to Ottawa and London.

The Forest City ultimately won out because of a similarity to their native city back in Ukraine, which Olha describes as being, “not so small, and not so big like Ottawa.”

Before the couple moved to Canada and while they were waiting for their documents, Olha started baking for her kids — Yeva and Dan, 12 and almost 13 respectively.

It may have started as a hobby, but before long she was baking different cakes every day. It was too many sweets for the kids, so she soon started taking orders from friends.

One of those friends would unintentionally help Olha come up with the name for the café she would years later open up in London.

“The name Happiness comes from when we were back home in the Ukraine and a friend of mine purchased a box of cakes I had baked,” Olha said. “She said to me that it was like a box of happiness and the name stuck.”

The excitement around the business has caught on pretty quickly.

For example, the family came to London on a Friday night and they found the Wellington Street location on the following Monday.

It took some three months to work out a deal, but after they got their hands on the keys, Olha said it took them just two weeks to get the doors open.

Not surprisingly, having young kids and a new business has been stressful for the family, but Olha said spending time together has always been a priority.

That could lead to walking their dogs around Victoria Park or visiting the shops in and around downtown, but wherever they go, Olha said they couldn’t be happier with where they have settled down.

“I like where we are. People have asked why we came here, why not Masonville for example. In Europe, in Ukraine, all these cafes and cute places, they are all in the downtown,” she said.

“When you want to go somewhere, you go to the downtown. It just made sense to us to be here. I do like our view. I think it’s pretty great.”

Michael WickettCivic Centre