December 1, 2023 — Spotted at Burnaby, B.C.’s Metrotown Skytrain station is a pink vending machine. No, it doesn’t sell pop or chips or cigarettes. But what it dispenses are packs of six flavours of silvanas – a uniquely Filipino cashew meringue wafer sandwiches filled with buttercream.
Filipino-owned Khaykery Bakery currently operates two vending machines: one at the Metrotown Skytrain station and another at the Joyce Skytrain station in Vancouver.
TransLink’s pilot program in 2023 made it possible for Khaykery and other local food businesses to operate food vending machines at Metro Vancouver's SkyTrain stations and Sea Bus Terminal.
But even before Translink launched its program, owner and operator Aimee Khay Nagasan already had a vending machine at the Lansdowne Centre in Richmond.
“I got the inspiration to sell from vending machines when I went to Las Vegas and there were vending machines everywhere,” she shared with Canadian Filipino Net (CFNet).
“I thought it was such a great concept and I did not need to hire someone to sell our products.”
Nagasan herself is an accidental baker who started to learn how to bake while being a full-time mom.
“I was a stay-at-home mom after I got pregnant with my youngest son,” Nagasan recalled.
“In 2015, I decided to bake a cake for his second birthday and so I started learning from online videos and tutorials.”
In a couple of months, she made not just a cake but three-tiered cakes and cupcakes.
Guests at her son’s birthday party enjoyed the baked treats so much that orders started coming in after that. In 2019, Nagasan opened her first storefront in downtown Vancouver.
“But six months later, we had to close our store due to the pandemic and since we couldn’t sell or serve our customers directly, I started supplying our silvanas to local Filipino stores and restaurants,” Nagasan told CFNet.
She saw how businesses started to close one after another and worried that her business would suffer the same. “We were hit pretty hard by the pandemic but thank God we managed to survive.”
With storefronts on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver and another in Richmond, Khaykery is now offering not just silvanas but also custom made-to-order cakes, siopao, mamon, ensaymadas and pandesal.
“I am working on hiring more staff so that we can fulfill wholesale orders from our resellers,” says Nagasan.
The forthcoming Christmas season means more foot traffic at Khaykery’s bakeries and vending machines but the business will join other Canadian Filipino vendors at the Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver’s annual Christmas market to be held on December 16, from 10 a.m. at the St. Patrick’s Parish recreation centre on Main Street in Vancouver.