LIMA — A new business in Shawnee Township is trying to establish itself as a “neighborhood bakery” that emphasizes fresh, local goods that range from pastries and bagels to scones and breakfast sandwiches.
The Bent Spoon, located at 2508 Shawnee Road, opened recently in a storefront that previously housed Coffe Amor. Like its predecessor, The Bent Spoon got its start at local farmers markets.
“We built up a following doing markets in Lima and Bluffton, and each year it got progressively bigger,” said Justin Parker, who owns the bakery with his wife, Jessica. “Moving here allowed us to expand the stuff we can offer exponentially, so whatever we can imagine, we can do that now.
“It was a big jump, but it’s absolutely exciting.”
The bakery’s selection changes daily, from sundried tomato and feta bagels to stuffed orange raspberry scones, cinnamon rolls and Kouign Amanns, which are light, flaky pastries served plain or dotted with fruit. They also serve a variety of fresh dinner breads, and will take advance orders for cakes and specialty items.
“You’ll see a completely different case of things each week,” Parker said. “But if there’s something you like and we don’t have it that week, by all means, get a hold of us and we would love to make it for you.”
Parker said most of the baked goods he sells are made in-house from homemade ingredients. He said they make their own jams and cream cheeses, and he and his wife even have a garden at their home where they grow fruit. If the Parkers don’t grow it themselves, they find what they need from local producers who they know and trust.
“We want to be involved in the whole process,” Parker said. “We like to see where the food comes from and how they’re making it. We want to be able to follow that line back through every step.”
Parker added it’s imperative to know where the food comes from so he can identify what is in it and what is not. Most importantly, he wants to sell baked goods that do not contain preservatives.
“We don’t add preservatives to anything we sell,” he said.
By excluding preservatives, Parker said his bakery items are fresh and generally taste better. He said everything that is on the shelf was baked the same morning.
“We like to say that time and freshness are the only flavors you can’t add yourself,” he said. “We’re fans of small batch, quality control, so it may not look the exact same each time, but it’s the best quality we can give you.”
As a small business, the Parkers know the importance of customer interaction. They want to get to know everyone who walks through the door, and they hope to give back to the community. Parker said he plans to help with fundraisers for local school districts such as Elida, where his daughter attends.
The community connection, he said, is their way of becoming the neighborhood bakery that everyone knows and loves.
“We want to add our little part to the neighborhood, and to be thought of as a place people go to get their baked goods,” he said. “I live in Lima, born and bred. So this is our way of making the community we live in just a little bit better.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.