When Jenifer Eakle teamed up with her son, Jim, to open a new bakery in East Wenatchee, neither had preconceived notions of what it would look like.
“We kind of winged it,” Jim said. “We did a lot of the interior design and construction ourselves and with the help of some friends, but we left the electrical and plumbing work to the professionals.”
What the pair has created is Glaze Bakery, maker of old-fashioned bakery favorites in a modern upscale setting.
Glaze is open daily, specializing in fresh, made-from-scratch delights such as donuts, brownies, cookies and seven different breads. It bakes its way through about 600 pounds of donut flour each week.
It also offers soups made fresh each day, makes its own sauces and provides a lunch crowd with handcrafted sandwiches. Because it uses no additives or preservatives in its products, the bakery donates any remaining product at the end of each day to the Wenatchee Food Bank.
The bakery, at 595 Grant Rd., exudes a laid-back vibe and has an open floor plan where customers can see their favorite pastries and breads being made.
“We wanted people to see what really goes on,” Jim said. “It gives customers more of a connection to what they are eating.”
That simple open-floor business model has received the seal of approval from appreciative customers.
“Glaze is what every small independently owned business should strive to be like,” said Dan White, East Wenatchee resident. “Start with owners who have a unique idea for a business model, and the guts to act on that idea. Couple that with having a product that is of high quality and a little different than what others offer. Then staff the business with friendly workers who seem to actually enjoy their work.”
Add a comfortable seating area with a million-dollar view of Wenatchee and the eastern slope of the Cascades, and you get a welcoming atmosphere that has become a regular stop for many locals and visitors from surrounding communities.
“Glaze is a comfortable place to relax and read the newspaper every morning before coming into the office,” White added.
Prior to becoming a business owner, Jenifer Eakle was the bakery manager for Top Foods when it closed in 2011. She moved to the same position at Food Pavilion in Olds Station, but she dreamed of someday being her own boss.
Jim wanted to get into the food truck business. He saw an opportunity in the area, but it didn’t take him long to realize a food truck would cost about the same as opening a brick and mortar store.
So, in May 2012, mother and son joined forces and opened Glaze Bakery (theglazebakery.com). Jenifer does the baking and training in the wee morning hours — she starts work each day at 1 a.m. — and Jim handles the business from lunch to closing. The young business has 10 employees, and the owners can tell you exactly what they sell each day.
“We keep really close tabs on everything — every donut, every loaf of bread we sell,” Jim said. “It allows us to follow trends. For the most part, we get it down pretty close.”
So far, the bakery has learned its busiest time of the day is mornings. Its busiest time of the week is Friday. And its busiest time of the year is the last quarter.
While following trends and adjusting its baking schedule to increase efficiency is important to its bottom line, Glaze Bakery also understands the importance of accommodating its customers’ desire for unique baked goods that can’t be found anywhere else.
“We can accommodate whatever the customer wants with custom-baking to fit their needs,” Jim said. “For example, one customer really liked our cinnamon-raisin rolls, but wasn’t crazy about the raisins. So we made her a special batch without the raisins.”
The custom-baked approach applies to its handcrafted made-to-order cakes as well, where the only limitation is the customer’s imagination.
“We can do any cake a customer can think of,” Jim said. “Some of our cakes are traditional, like birthday or wedding cakes. But some are just crazy. We’ll make whatever the customer wants.”
And if the customer has a favorite photograph, Glaze Bakery has the technology to put it on the cake so they can eat it, too.
“We are one of the only places in Central Washington who can take any photograph and put it on a cake with edible ink,” Jim said.
In addition to its retail outlet, the bakery wholesales product to eight accounts. Auto Mocha Coffee is one of them.
“We get fresh products from Glaze Bakery every morning, and our customers really love them,” said Kristeena Spence, co-owner of the five Auto Mocha Coffee stands in the area. “Glaze’s products are of high quality so they usually sell out by noon, and its staff is really great to work with.”
Glaze Bakery has also started catering.
“We’re still climbing the learning curve of the catering part of the business,” Jim said. “Catering is a little tricky and it takes some practice, but we are getting better at it.”
Glaze Bakery is bullish about its future.
“We’re pretty impatient,” Jim said. “I really wanted to create a big deal. I wanted to be a monstrous force right out of the gate, but when you actually become the boss, you realize it’s a lot more work. We’ve been really well accepted into the community.”
Still, this young entrepreneur wants to do much more.
“Our five-year plan includes a second location in Wenatchee,” Jim said.
With no national donut chain, such as Winchell’s Donuts or Dunkin’ Donuts, present in Central Washington, regular customers think Glaze Bakery is a big deal. And the business appreciates its customers as much as the customers appreciate the business.
“It’s an environment that’s easy to return to,” White said. “And in my case, over and over again.”