COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Jenny Thomas (left) and Ashley Hescott (right) started their home bakery, Two Spoon Bakery, in Mendon back in February. They are pictured in their home kitchen. The bakery, which sells a variety of baked goods, has become a local phenomenon in the past month and a half, thanks to word of mouth via friends and social media.

Local home bakery exceeding expectations

MENDON — When friends Ashley Hescott and Jenny Thomas first started their home bakery business, Two Spoon Bakery, in Mendon in February, the two women considered it as a bit of a side hobby.

“We were kind of thinking it would just be a couple hours a week, getting an order or two a week, and we’ll spend a couple hours on it,” Thomas said.

Over a month and a half later, thanks to word of mouth via friends and social media, Hescott and Thomas’ home bakery has become a bit of a local phenomenon, averaging 20 orders a week, with a 12-hour day once a week to get the orders filled.

“It’s just kind of taken off, and it's been a consistent business every week for us,” Hescott said.

“It was kind of like, we blinked and it was running,” Thomas said.

Two Spoon Bakery is the product of Hescott and Thomas, who both grew up in family bakeries. Hescott’s family owned Hescott’s Coffee and Donuts in Sturgis and Three Rivers, while Thomas’ parents and siblings owned a bread and pastry shop in Watkinsville, Ga., just southwest of Athens, Ga. The two bonded in the last year over their shared experiences.

“It was a fun family environment,” Thomas recalled of her experiences growing up. “It was where I spent my weekends and after school every day, so just tons of memories.”

“I've grown up in the baking world too, being at the donut shop with my family,” Hescott added. “We both have that in our background, and in this last year, we've become good friends.”

The two started baking “randomly” together every week once they became friends, including doing birthday cakes for other friends. After “lots and lots” of Hescott and Thomas’ friends told them they should try opening a bakery of their own, Thomas approached Hescott with the idea to start one back in December. The idea was to do it one day a week, on Fridays, and seeing what happens. Before that, though, Hescott said the two were skeptical that it would fit in their schedules.

“Bakeries can be a lot of time and a lot of work, so we were kind of questioning for a while if a bakery was the right fit as far as trying to find work that gives us flexible time, starting a business that won't consume our days and allow us to still be involved in our families,” Hescott said.

Now the two set up every Friday at a house in Mendon and start making their product from scratch at around 6 a.m. Their days usually last for 12 hours, making orders, packaging and delivering them, with each of their items delivered the day it’s baked. They have delivered mainly to Three Rivers and Sturgis, and have made stops in Mendon, Colon and as far away as Portage and Kalamazoo.

“Everything is 100 percent made from scratch,” Thomas said. “We really want to use the simplest ingredients possible, so we've just spent a lot of time picking what our favorite ingredients are, and just use the same simple ingredients for each product.”

In terms of fresh delivery, Thomas and Hescott said they sometimes deliver items that have just gotten out of the oven within the previous hour.

“Oftentimes we hand people warm boxes,” Thomas said, chuckling.

A wide variety of baked goods are available for purchase every week, each coming from both Hescott and Thomas’ backgrounds. Their products include scones, cinnamon rolls, bundt cakes, sugar cookies, and cupcakes, with potentially more ideas coming down the pipeline. The duo said their cardamom buns have proven to be quite popular early on.

“It’s a yeast dough, like what you would have in a cinnamon roll, but it’s twisted up and knotted in a fun way with cinnamon and cardamom in the filling,” Thomas said. “It’s a pastry that’s kind of spicy. We describe it to people as like having it taste like a chai, because there’s cinnamon and cardamom in chais oftentimes. It’s a Scandinavian pastry; you don’t find it a lot around here, but it was something we liked. We found the recipe and spent a lot of time tweaking it and really made it our own. It’s one of our favorite things to bake.”

Their most popular item by far, though, has been their giant chocolate chip cookies, sold by the dozen.

“We’ve baked six weeks now, and the first time we posted them and since then every week, we’ve gotten several orders for them,” Hescott said. “They weigh a quarter-pound before they’re baked.”

Thomas said the recipes they have took a while to perfect, but that both women enjoy the development process.

“Everything we sell, we've spent weeks perfecting that recipe. We've made it over and over again until we're happy with it,” Thomas said.

Both women said they’re still a bit surprised their business has taken off as quickly as it did, but said they are still thankful for any order that comes in.

“It's still exciting and new, because we just didn't expect it,” Hescott said. “I'm still floored, excited and thankful every week when people order. It's exciting when new people order too.”

“We're just thankful for the new people that order, too. We already had a strong community supporting us, but quickly the people that have ordered are regulars and super-supportive, and they share the word. We're so thankful for that,” Thomas said.

To place an order, Hescott said, people can visit the Two Spoon Bakery Facebook page and send them a message, or call (269) 535-9224. Due to how the home bakery operates, orders have a cutoff time of Thursday at noon for delivery that Friday. Orders can also be placed for future Fridays as well.

While they have goals to potentially expand ordering days in the future, along with the future potential of having to move to a commercial kitchen, Thomas said the duo’s goal right now is to have work that is fun and allows them to be flexible with their daily lives.

“We’d like to, in the future, see people being able to order on multiple days, but our goal is for it to continue to meet our current goals, which are to allow us to have flexibility and really be able to pour into our community and family and friends still,” Thomas said.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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