The story of Tracey Ormond’s catering business That’s a Wrap Catering Company is full of unexpected flavours and healthy helpings of Peterborough pride.
She opened her catering business because of the lessons she learned while she was a long-haul truck driver, and she runs the business out of a large modern kitchen — located in a funeral home and reception centre.
The story begins in 2013, when Tracey decided she was ready to go into business for herself. She had some experience in the food industry: she’d worked in a long-term care facility and she’d helped manage Charlotte Anne’s Restaurant in downtown Peterborough.
“I just knew I wanted to be part of the community,” Tracey says, explaining how she was looking for the vitality that comes from being an entrepreneur in Peterborough. “A catering business, to me, was the perfect fit.”
She was ready — like someone parachuting out of a plane for the first time. In other words, she was ready but terrified.
Tracey had just spent six years on the road as a long-haul truck driver. While she’d been back home in Peterborough for about a year, she knew she had a long road in front of her when she embarked the self-employment journey. For one thing, she needed a commercial kitchen.
To ease her nerves, Tracey attended a breakfast hosted by the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area; it was one of the first things she did after making the decision.
She laughs, remembering now.
“I was more out of my element at that meeting than I ever was on the road,” she says. “These were all brilliant people, many in suits and ties, and I thought, ‘what are you doing, you don’t know anybody!'”
As it turns out, it was a connection made at the end of that meeting in late 2013 that led Tracey to the Ashburnham Funeral Home & Reception Centre, which just happened to have a large, brand new kitchen facility — and the need for some in-house catering.
She opened That’s a Wrap from that kitchen in March 2014 and now she runs a robust business that includes classes and workshops, on-site catering with the option of a liquor license, and off-site catering. She does private catering and corporate functions — about a fifty-fifty split between the two.
She does wraps and hot meals, freezer dinners, and sandwiches with salad. And she buys everything she can from local produce suppliers, the market — and, recently, Tiny Greens.
Her goal is to provide healthy catering options for residents and businesses in her home community of Peterborough.
“Doing this allows me to be a part of the community,” says Tracey, who is now the membership director of the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough, as well as a member of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Peterborough Rotary Club.
About her years on the road, Tracey smiles. She knows how intriguing her story is, and she explains that driving a truck had always been on her bucket list.
When the opportunity arose in the midst of a life crunch, she took it, and is grateful she did. She saw North America, visited every zoo she could (she loves zoos), and witnessed American history-in-the-making when she was in the United States on the night President Barack Obama was elected.
“It was an amazing experience,” Tracey says of her truck-driving years, looking up from the cutting board. “It was scary, but it was also freeing.”
She also learned the value of a wrap. Most of the time Tracey slept in her truck, and almost always ate on the road.
“It had to be something like a hamburger or sandwich or wrap,” she says, “because you had to be able to eat it with one hand.”
Truck driver to caterer may seem an unusual journey to some, but in hindsight it makes perfect sense to Tracey.
“Sometimes you can’t see it at the time, but one thing leads to another.”
That’s a Wrap Catering is located at 840 Armour Road in Peterborough. For more information, call 705-768-7168, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.thatsawrapcatering.ca. You can also follow That’s a Wrap on Facebook and Twitter, and connect with Tracey on LinkedIn.