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New to St. Jacobs, but no stranger to baking up a business

Nestled behind the original St. Jacobs mural on Spring Street, tucked under the maple tree is The Shed, a newly launched takeout location by Lenjo Bakes.

The Shed offers a variety of baked treats and Four All ice cream products at their location in the village. Starting in Kitchener, The Shed was created by Lenjo Bakes owner Lenore Johnson, a lifelong baker.

Johnson noted that the initial pop-up location for Lenjo Bakes was in New Zealand in 2017. After moving back home she found a space two years later and began renovating the new shop on Ahrens Street. Most of the interior from top to bottom had to be renovated, a laborious process Johnson took on so she could open her first bakery location in Kitchener.

“It started as a pop-up in New Zealand – it took ’til July 2019 to find a space and then February 2020 to finally open. It was as hard as it is anytime to open up a store – it came with its own challenges.

“I’ve always loved baking things from nothing, getting something really cool out of it and then using those same ingredients just in different ratios to get something completely different.”

 The expansion into St. Jacobs was encouraged by her commercial landlord in Kitchener, who also owns the spot in the village.

“He was just really passionate about having great options in the village, and he knows how passionate I am about community. ‘You have great products, I’ve seen what you’ve been able to do to the space here in Kitchener and I would love for you to be able to inject a little bit of the spirit you have into the village as well.’ So that’s why I’m here in a 168-square-foot shed.”

All the baking is done in Kitchener and then brought to The Shed for selling to St. Jacobs shoppers. Four All Ice cream, a local business similar to Lenjo Bakes, sells its products at The Shed for takeout alongside Johnson’s fresh-baked treats.

“We got set up and our first year we actually sold gelato and the following summer we did Mother’s Day macaroon ice cream sandwiches with Four All and then they were like ‘are you going to sell our product now?’ It was a natural partnership.”

The Shed can be easy to miss, not located along the main street but hidden away slightly behind a large maple tree. It’s worth trying to find to try some of their baked goods or the frozen snack available in different sized takeout containers.

“We will always have squares, cookies and then we’ll typically have another sweet treat, so this week well have blueberry streusel tarts, we’ll always have French macaroons, we’ll always have bake-at-home cinnamon rolls, which is like a kit to take home. For the cooler months, we’re looking at doing a cocoa and hot apple cider and things like that.”

Since opening The Shed in July, Johnson said she’s  enjoyed being part of the community but hopes more people will start to walk around the corner to find their new takeout venture.

“Were still trying to let people know were here. We have signs at the end of the street, but people will look and might not see it at first from around the corner,” said Johnson.

Lenjo Bakes focuses on community and using locally produced or grown food in their baked goods for sale every week.

“If we want produce, especially where we’re located, you don’t have to look very far in order to find a farm – you can go direct to seller, you can talk to people who grow the things that we use, you can talk to people who produce the products we use. I like that, I like knowing everyone’s names.”

The Shed is open for takeout Thursday to Saturdays 12 to 5 p.m. and Sundays 12 to 4 p.m., located at 1395 King St. N.

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