Value Added Kitchen User Opens Brick-and-Mortar Shop!

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The first thing that you notice when you walk into High Ridge Bakery on Main Street in Mars Hill is the overwhelming scent of fresh out-of-the-oven cinnamon rolls and sourdough bread. It’s enough to make you giddy, and frankly everyone walking in the door seems especially happy to be there.
It was my first visit, so I had to sample a couple of the baked goods. I chose the chocolate walnut banana bread, three berry tart and kalamata olive + rosemary focaccia bread. If you ask me, they’re all now my favorite. And it was a good thing I got the tart when I did, as by 12:30, they were gone.
It’s not hard to figure out why High Ridge Bakery sells out as most everything is baked fresh daily. A husband-and-wife team, Meghan and William wake up at 3 a.m. to start work by 4 a.m. The sourdough rises overnight, and the cinnamon rolls take 3 hours to rise each morning. It’s a labor of love.
As I sat there and listened to the discussions around me, I heard people having a hard time choosing which baked good to try, with more than one saying ‘it’s sooo good’, and another talking about the reason that they like the tarts is because ‘you can really taste the fruit.’
High Ridge Bakery has been open for 3 months, and Meghan says her favorite part of owning the business is baking and interacting with customers.
Her love of baking started during her former life as an ESL teacher and baking goodies for students’ various celebrations. She later took a week-long artisanal bread-making class.
When she decided to try her hand at making this a business, she started baking in the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Madison County Center Value Added Kitchen and selling at the Mars Hill Farmer’s Market. Using the Madison Value Added Kitchen allowed her to grow her business without a huge monetary investment, dipping her foot into the water to see if this is something she wanted to do.
As her sales increased and she looked into making this a full-time job, she took a Foundations Course at Mountain Bizworks. The rest of the help that she got in learning how to start her business came from friends and the community. Of course, there was also a lot of trial-and-error.
One of the harder things about running this kind of a business is the fact that their product is highly perishable, says Meghan. And as they’re still new at this, it’s been hard to figure out how much to make daily. As a result, sometimes they over-produce and sometimes they under-produce.
Their future plans include adding soups, croissants and bagels. But for now, they’re happy, and so are their customers, with the amount and variety of their products.
Show them some love and check them out Wednesdays – Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. The earlier in the day, the better!Baked bread on cooling racks.