The Hollow's Heart
This January, we wanted to take some time to revisit our early days and reflect on the journey we've taken over the past 30 years. Pineridge Hollow has grown organically since opening our doors in 1992. When we look back on everything that has changed, the beginning can feel like another lifetime. In reflecting on our growth, there is still so much that has stayed the same. Our beliefs & our purpose - The Hollow's Heart - has stayed true to the same values that we were built upon.
Follow along on our trip down memory lane…
The Hollow's Heart was our newsletter for many years.
O U R I N S P I R A T I O N
At the end of 2019, before the pandemic had hit Manitoba, our management team gathered together to talk about Pineridge Hollow's philosophy and what exactly it was that we were able to offer our guests. Here's what we wrote as our "story pitch" that day:
"Life can be depleting. When we are depleted we lack the energy to engage in life's little moments so we designed a destination to restore your energy and enrich your life. Create memories that last by reconnecting with old friends over a meal, giving a toast at your sisters wedding, finding the perfect gift for your mom or discovering exactly what you needed."
Little did we know, just how deeply we would feel this sentiment in just a few short months. This principle guides Pineridge Hollow in each of it's departments and truly is the inspiration behind each area of our business. While we may have written that paragraph just a few years ago, it is easy to see this same sentiment recurring over the years. Here are some of the messages we have shared since the beginning:
"Return to the simple pleasures" - "Escape the ordinary" - "An authentic Manitoba Prairie experience"
"Decorate, Rejuvenate, Celebrate" - "Discover exactly what you needed"
O U R E V O L U T I O N
In 1992, Jan Regehr opened Pineridge Hollow, a 1920's log home converted into a country gift shop on Vernon Road (1.5 miles from our current location). as the number of guests visiting Pineridge Hollow grew, Jan knew she wanted to welcome them with her deep rooted love of hospitality and a home cooked meal. Thus, the teahouse opened, serving light lunches, homemade scones and cinnamon buns. Four years later the carriage house was built to move the baking out of Jan's house and to have a place to do workshops. The rest of this building was going to be a barn and garage for personal use.
In 1998, Jan realized that she needed to close or move the business due to an overwhelming response from guests. Originally, Winnipeg Hydro quoted $50,000 to lift the hydro lines required to move the building just the short 1.5 mile stretch. Initially, this was enough to stop the plans but the fates aligned when Winnipeg hydro was doing a project that required them to divert the power from those major power lines. This allowed us to move the carriage house to our existing site on June 9th, 1999. Hydro told Jan that this (diverting power) had never been done before and probably never would again. Yes, we believe in miracles... When the building was moved there was nothing more than a few small cracks. It was the largest building the mover had ever relocated.
Since the big move, the original carriage house has seen a number of renovations and expansions - including the addition of the furniture showroom, enclosing the porch and adding the restaurant patio.
T H E V A L U E O F O U R T E A M
A lesson that Jan learned very early on in growing Pineridge Hollow, was the value & strength of her team. She knew that she wanted to find individuals who could execute areas of her business better than she could herself. Just like the business itself, those team members who really fit within our family, grew organically. There were (and are) new opportunities and growth for anyone; a gardener became a multi-talented member of the marketing team, a baker became our brilliant hospitality manager.
People may come and go through the years, but those who truly resonate with Pineridge Hollow could find a place on the team, even if that position didn't exist for them at the time. Jan recognized that a team member could bring with them, the opportunity to grow Pineridge Hollow itself - like the addition of a florist that we didn't know we needed until she came knocking at our door.
Pineridge Hollow as a business can be hard to explain at times, we are many things - a boutique, a restaurant, a wedding venue, a furniture store, a farmer's market - and just like the diversity in our offerings, our team includes an array of talented individuals each with diverse talents and personalities. But the "Pineridge Hollow person" believes in these things:
- Generosity: with our time & with other's time, with our actions & our interpretations of others
- Creativity: in the way that we work, constantly looking to improve what we do
- Collaboration: with our community and with each other
T H E S T O R E
It really all began with the store. Jan wanted to showcase the beautiful work of local crafters & artisans, but she was also tired of making long trips to find the unique items that she was searching for. As we expanded and more guests began to visit our store, we wanted to explore all the areas of our guests lives that we would be able to provide unique, local & high quality items for.
In 2002 we took an exciting leap - setting up shop in a grand old home on Academy Road as our second retail location. It was a wonderful extension and reflection of our rural location. We met many loyal guests and loved our time there. But after 6 great years, we found out that the home was going up for sale, and were faced with a tough decision: should we renew our lease with a new building owner or should we look for another Winnipeg location? Ultimately, we decided that we wanted to stay ‘home’. The original Pineridge Hollow blueprints include much more than what we currently were, so we decided to begin the process of realizing those dreams. In January of 2009 we closed our Academy Road doors and got down to the drawing board to imagine, draw, erase and organize the plans for the next step towards our ‘Pineridge Hollow Dream’ – the furniture showroom.
In the midst of growing the furniture department (and building additions to house this), we started to explore another new category - clothing! We even held our first fashion show outdoors in the Fall of 2013. As the store continues along its journey, we are committed to continuing to be a source of inspiration for our guests. It is an honour and a joy to become a part of your lives in the simple ways and the more complex - from a single serving plate to a custom designed sectional.
T H E R E S T A U R A N T
To Jan, it just made sense to start offering guests food & drink during their visits to her rural property. What started with sandwiches, scones & tea has become much more than our original tea house offerings. After moving to our new location, the restaurant began serving a menu of prairie cuisine - a showcase of dishes featuring distinctly Manitoban ingredients and our own spin on heritage recipes. This style of cuisine is inspired by not only the bounty of the land and the people who live here, but the contrast of seasons, the things that we naturally desire as our environment changes. In winter, nothing is better than warm, comforting fare while in summer we crave fresh produce & grilled dishes. We believe that food is nourishment for our bodies, minds & souls and that where our food comes from matters. From the beginning, it has been important for us to source as many fresh, local ingredients as possible and support our local farmers.
Jan & her family wanted to extend this belief even further. In the spring of 2017 they started to transform a 120-year old existing farm into into a working 48 acre farm known as Oak Knoll Farm. They were then able to supply the restaurant with fruits, vegetables, chicken and pork using bio-dynamic & regenerative agriculture practices.
Having so many of our ingredients provided by Oak Knoll Farm and other local farmers allows us to serve our guests thoughtful, seasonal dishes that bring a new meaning to comfort food - comfort in the delicious home-cooked flavours, but also in knowing exactly how the ingredients arrived on your plate and where they came from.
B E L O V E D M E N U I T E M S
Throughout the years, certain menu items have practically become a part of our family, a part of our brand. Let's take a moment to appreciate some of these all time favourites:
Schmoo Torte: this delicious pecan & caramel torte has been on the menu for years & years. Did you know that Schmoo is known as a Canadian specialty? But, it is most famous in the prairie provinces and specifically Manitoba!
Cinnamon Buns: our ooey-gooey cinnamon buns are Jan's mom's recipe and boy-oh-boy have they been a hit. They've been on our menu since the original tea house days!
Mushroom Perogies: a perfect example of our original restaurant philosophy of prairie cuisine. Taking Manitoban's beloved heritage recipe of perogies and stuffing them full of local grown mushrooms. They are one of our signature items and quite simply, divine!
Frozen Lemon Meringue Torte: have you ever eaten a dessert quite like the "Frozen Lemon"? Thanks to Jan's sister-in-law's recipe, this delicacy has been making diners smile for years!
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes: our signature pancakes are another menu item with a story. When Jan originally wrote the pamphlet advertising Pineridge Hollow's new location, she described enjoying the property and sitting down to enjoy pancakes with ricotta and lemon curd. On opening day she suddenly realized that no such pancakes had been added to the menu and the kitchen had to quickly figure out a recipe! Clearly, it was a great decision as everyone's favourite pancakes have stayed on the menu to this day!
Scones: with both sweet and savoury flavours, delicious, buttery scones were one of the original offerings in Pineridge Hollow's restaurant. Some of the most popular flavours over the years were lemon poppyseed (you all seem to love lemon!), maple pecan and herb & cheese.
Beet Chips: did you think we were going to forget about beet chips? No way! From day one, beet chips were a hit, joining the dinner party at so many tables! Oak Knoll Farm even grows a beet crop specifically to make everyone's favourite appetizer!
W E D D I N G S
Once a steady flow of guests were venturing out to explore Pineridge Hollow, it didn't take long until someone inquired about having their wedding amongst the beautiful gardens. Jan herself had hosted a celebration on her family's property for her own wedding and knew just how much work it was. She wanted couples to be able to enjoy all the joys of hosting an outdoor wedding, with all of the stressors & details taken care of.
Soon, a grand white banquet tent was set up seasonally, and we grew to have events every day of the weekend throughout the summer months. We created an all inclusive wedding venue that could provide the ceremony, reception space, catering & decor all in one place.
It is truly a privilege to have couples put their trust in us and choose Pineridge Hollow to be the host of their magical celebrations. With the visions of our fantastic couples and alongside so many talented & passionate wedding industry vendors, we have even had the honour of being recognized in esteemed wedding publications like Magnolia Rouge & Martha Stewart Weddings!
Photo: Mary Margaret Magyar
T H E F A R M E R ' S M A R K E T
A thriving farmers’ market has always been a vision for Pineridge Hollow - a further extension of our belief in supporting local & collaboration with our community. We want to provide a venue for makers & growers to connect with the community as well as a place for visitors to find the very best our community has to offer. Every summer, we host a weekly Saturday market from June - September, featuring 40+ vendors & food trucks.
Our markets have taken place for many years, and one of the most exciting celebrations of our farmers’ market was the weekend-long "Old Thyme Country Fair" which also included the addition of a live auction, best apple pie baking contest, live entertainment (even a concert by Fred Penner!) The annual fair continued on until one year, the demand became too much to handle and we were forced to limit entry. This was the breaking point for the Fall Fair and Jan felt we were no longer able to accommodate this beloved event. In 2019 we revived the Fall Fair, complete with midway, live music concerts, beer gardens and of course, our largest farmers’ market to date. Our grand plans were thwarted by 2 days of terrible weather, but the Sunday of the Fall Fair weekend was a success and brought all of the fond memories of our Old Thyme Fair rushing back.
We're looking forward to the continuation of our Farmer's Market this year, with the new, covered market space in The Village. And if you think you've seen the last of the Fall Fair, you'd be mistaken...
T H E V I L L A G E
The expansion of the Village might seem like "the next big step" after all of the avenues we've explored in the past. You might be surprised to know that The Village is actually a long-term vision that was in the original site plans for this property. Timing is everything, and what perfect timing to have this original vision come to fruition during the 30th Anniversary of Pineridge Hollow's opening! More than ever before, this venture allows us to partner with like minded individuals who share our vision and want to realize their own dreams. The Village will be a multi-faceted experience; bringing together shopping, dining, workshops, entertainment & exploring the outdoors. We are overjoyed to have our nine unique, local vendors join us in our journey along with The Village Market, The Village Square, The Village Studio & The Farmer's Kitchen Grocery Store!
T H E W O M A N B E H I N D I T A L L
The woman behind It all, Janice Regehr. She is our courageous leader, inspired trailblazer and the embodiment of the Hollow's Heart. Jan has never feared opportunity, but rather saw it for its potential and dove in head first. She says that she built Pineridge Hollow to become what it is today by listening to what her guests were saying and responding to that.
She has a passion for authentic experiences and sharing with others, the things that bring her great joy. So what kinds of things bring Jan great joy?
- spending time in the garden, tending to blooms and admiring their striking, natural beauty
- great food that showcases amazing flavour and highlights the each ingredient for what it brings to the table (alongside a fantastic glass of wine)
- absorbing all that the great outdoors has to offer, getting lost in the sights & sounds of the forest and appreciating Mother Nature's magic
- making her home & the homes of other's a place of comfort & reprieve through home decor & design
- creating meaningful moments with her friends, family & community; taking time for authentic & purposeful connection with others
You can see the reflection of all of these passions in Pineridge Hollow. These are the experiences she hopes each of our guests will feel after walking through our doors or exploring our property.
It is inspirational to see all that Jan has built and the vision she continues to grow for the future. Alongside her daughters, Katrina (Vice President) and Beth (Retail Manager), the Regehrs continue to share their love for this business and all the of the people who make up our amazing community.
“Take pride in how far you’ve come, and have faith in how far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey”
- Michael Josephson
It is incredibly special for us to be able to share our journey with you all. There are so many layers to The Hollow's Heart and our guests are one of the most important. Without listening to the suggestions, opinions & wishes of our community, Pineridge Hollow would not have grown to become what it is today. Thank you for being here and thank you for being a part of our story.