Adding some sugar and spice to offerings

The next time you’re picking up a dozen roses, why not add a dozen cookies as well?

Michelle Baerg, owner of the Window Box Florist is adding a bakery in the space next to her flower shop. The Bake Shoppe will offer cookies, muffins and other baked treats, as well as coffee, tea and sandwiches.

When the hair salon that was located next to her moved out unexpectedly, Baerg was left scrambling to find a tenant. She thought the space would be perfect for a bakery, and several people were interested in the idea but reluctant to take the plunge. They suggested Baerg start the new business herself.

Michelle Baerg has expanded the repertoire at her Elmira floral business, taking advantage of newly available space to launch The Bake Shoppe.
Michelle Baerg has expanded the repertoire at her Elmira floral business, taking advantage of newly available space to launch The Bake Shoppe.

The suggestion didn’t come completely out of left field; her aunt and grandmother both did baking out of their homes, and Baerg almost opened a bakery before she bought the Window Box.

“I’ve always wanted to have a bake shop,” she said. “I’ve been selling cookies by the pail since I was 12.”

Baerg thought about it for a month, then called up an electrician friend.

“Come and do the renovations really quickly, before I change my mind,” she told him.

The former salon space now has a kitchen in the back, a counter and a blackboard for writing down the day’s specials. Baerg is also adding a few tables for people who want to sit down to enjoy lunch or a good cup of coffee.
Baerg will be serving Nespresso coffee, which she learned about from a friend at Café Gardenia in St. Jacobs. The ground coffee comes in sealed, single-serving pouches and several different flavours.

“I love the idea that every cup is fresh,” Baerg said. “I don’t like going to a restaurant and getting the last cup in a pot.”

Baerg has been handing out sample cups to people who come into the flower shop and said there’s a lot of enthusiasm on the main street for a place to get a good cup of coffee. She can also make other espresso-based drinks like mochas, cappuccinos and lattes.

The bakery will serve up two kinds of sandwiches every day, as well as a range of baked goods including butter tarts, chocolate swirl cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, macaroon bars, muffins and cookies. What fills the shelves will vary depending on what Baerg feels like baking and what local produce is available; for next week’s opening, strawberries will be on the menu in some form. Baerg is also happy to take orders.

With a full-time job running the flower shop and three young kids, Baerg admits her new venture will be a lot of work. She’s hired Lynette Frey to help in the bake shop, saying the extra work will be worth it.
“This was a chance to do both my passions,” she said.

The Bake Shoppe opens Monday. Hours for the Window Box and the bakery will be the same: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

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