Mark Tsemak decided at the age of 19, his home country of Russia was not going to be the place for his future. He approached his parents to tell him he was going to immigrate in order to pursue his dreams. Simon and Anna, could not see a future where they lived worlds apart, so the journey began together as a family. Arriving in Vancouver in 1979 from Lithuania, Mark entered UBC to study engineering and the senior Tsemak’s started a confectionary store on Granville Street. It didn’t take long for Mark to realize that there was a lack of Russian foods available in Vancouver. This was the catalyst for the start of a long line of successful businesses in Vancouver that showcases piroshki, borscht, kielbasa and healthy breads and baked goods.
Red Square Bakery evolved out of a passion for helping people coupled with an inventors quest to build and create new things. Red Square Bakery is a place where you can get a dose of Mark’s unbridled passion for people to have a healthy lifestyle. Mark’s healing food regimen revolves around his belief in the healing powers of flax. Combined with a healthy diet he recommends eating a diet high in flax and believes this food is the cornerstone to helping prevent many of the known autoimmune diseases. Although he can’t provide his own clinical studies, he tells us many anecdotal stories about weight loss, relief from digestive related inflammation such as celiac disease, crohn’s, ulcerative colitis; along with health benefits for people who suffer from cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
The quest to create healthy breads and foods started on a very personal note, Anna, Mark’s mother suffered a stroke and was paralyzed on one side of her body. Mark could not accept the doctor’s prognosis of her being bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. This put Mark into overdrive, where he started to research how food could be a medicine. What emerged was a line of baked goods that revolved around flax and, simple clean ingredients. Within about four years, Anna was walking and even driving her own car. This is just one of many stories of success in health through healthy eating that customers have shared with Mark. “What I’ve learned over the years is that there’s nothing more satisfying than helping each other to achieve healthier lifestyles,” recalled Tsemak.
Food and health are always evolving, and Mark has put his company on the map with customers from across Canada and the United States. He operates out of a large warehouse/retail space in south Burnaby to supply over 200 customers. With growth comes business challenges and one is making sure that the business is covered in the case of disaster. When asked how he came to Reliance Insurance, he said it was so long ago he can’t even remember how he met Karen Taylor, whom he speaks very highly of. “Karen is attentive and has a genuine concern for my business and my customers. They [Reliance Insurance] don’t just talk they deliver! I view my insurance company as a business partner, there has to be a symbiosis, and I need to rely on my insurance agent to understand my business. Insurance is a comfort purchase. I have comfort knowing I am covered in case of disaster”, said Mark.
Companies like Red Square Bakery, are a unique small business and need a variety of insurance products,” reports Karen Taylor, Commercial Account Executive. “In addition to liability and property insurance, an operation like Red Square should complete a risk assessment and consider business interruption and food processors insurance. When dealing with food manufacturing and distribution, owners have to be prepared for a food recall. Without the correct coverage, a food recall can decimate a small business.”
“I am lucky, I have only had one insurance claim in 28 years. Most of my roof blew off in a big wind storm in 2004. But, we didn’t miss a beat, lose any inventory or production time. The insurance company stood by us. Not only am I covered, but I have a large distribution network and my insurance covers me down the line to the consumer. Now that is peace of mind.” said Mark.
Tip: Red Square Bakery is located at 8626 Joffre Avenue, Burnaby BC, with plenty of free store parking.