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Bell Street Bakery expected to open this fall

Boating. Biking. Sewing. Hiking. Reading.

Friendships often are formed based on common interests.

Doug Seaver, Roger Stukey and Emily Mills, owners of Cedar Creek Restaurant, started spending time with the Baritelle family after discovering a mutual appreciation for fine wine and dining. Now, the friends are taking the relationship to the next level and becoming business partners.

Bell Street Bakery, an idea that originally was brought up in jest and has since snowballed, is expected to open during the fall of 2008. Renovations are taking place in the 173 W. Bell St. building formerly occupied by The Garden Florist and construction of an addition will start within weeks.

“The town doesn’t have a bakery and every person we run into has said, ‘We need a bakery in Sequim,’” Seaver said.

“This is a partnership between the Baritelle family and Cedar Creek,” he continued. “We are all in it together.”

Speaking on behalf of the Baritelle family, André Baritelle said he is looking forward to the bakery opening from a professional and personal standpoint. “I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed fresh baked goods,” he said, a treat he indulged in regularly while living in the San Francisco Bay and Chicago areas.

Bell Street, Seaver said, is the perfect location for a bakery. “It’s the right part of town for us. We want people to be able to walk up and grab stuff throughout the day.”

Tall ceilings were a must because of the size of the ovens and machinery and the need for heat to rise. To accommodate the equipment, the two-story building is being transformed into one-story with windows to showcase baking operations, much like the Tillamook Cheese factory in Oregon, but on a smaller scale. A second structure, loosely attached by an outdoor courtyard and atrium, will house the retail portion of the business with café seating.

“We saw the building and all instantly said, ‘That’s the spot,’” Seaver said. “It’s perfect.”

As well as selling fresh baked pastries, scones, bread, muffins, sandwiches, soup, pasta and salad, the bakery will offer a Bell Street blend of Princess Valiant Coffee, a Sequim-owned company, that’s designed specifically for the business.

“We want to use local resources the same as we do at Cedar Creek,” Mills said. “That’s important to us.”

“The community has accepted us with open arms and the responsible thing to do is to take that full circle,” Seaver added.

Bell Street Bakery will mill its own flour on site. Eventually, the owners would like to grow, harvest, mill and sell wheat, corn and rye in Sequim.

“The price of wheat in the last two years has gone from $3 a bushel to over $15 and it’s speculated to go even higher,” Seaver said. “The Sequim Dungeness Valley was and still is a good place to grow crops and we want to utilize that. If somebody were to plant wheat and harvest it, we would be interested in buying it.”

Being “eco-friendly” is important to them, Mills said. “The company is going to be as green as possible, including using recycled, re-usable grocery bags.”

Seaver, Mills and Stukey are confident the bakery will succeed in Sequim despite the failure of their last business endeavor. Café Provence opened mid-June 2007 and closed Jan. 1, 2008 after less than one year.

“Café Provence closing was the right decision for us so we could explore new ideas,” Mills said.

“Business is an interesting thing,” Seaver added. “Sometimes you try new ideas and they catch hold and sometimes they don’t. Café Provence didn’t.”

“Cedar Creek, however,” Seaver continued, “is doing well. We are almost 3 years old and we are not going anywhere,” he said, attempting to put false rumors to rest. “We are going to be here a really long time. The Cedar Creek curse is broken.”

For more information about the Bell Street Bakery, to ask questions or give input, the owners are requesting people e-mail bellstreetbakery@yahoo.com rather than calling Cedar Creek Restaurant.

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