Customers flock to sample new offerings

REED CITY — Bread, cookies, muffins and scones are rolling out of the ovens in Stone House Bread's newest location in Reed City.

The Traverse City-based business expanded and moved into the former Wright's Bake Shop in November, only weeks following Wright's closure. Within the Reed City storefront, the company will focus on creating cost effective, 100 percent natural bread for local food markets, but also will offer baked items for customers walking through the front door.

"We're excited to be part of the community," said Stone House Bread owner Tonie Spearing. "We're happy with the customer numbers we're seeing come in and everyone has been so nice. I'm looking forward to getting to know the community."

Following a soft opening in December, the bakery is now officially open for business from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Each day, freshly baked artisan bread of all types is baked in the Traverse City location and shipped to Reed City. On site, pastries for customers are created, as well as bread like hamburger buns, sub buns and baguettes for restaurants.

"We know we'll go to a couple of the really big restaurants in Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor," Spearing said. "But if any of the restaurants in the local area are interested in using our bread, they are more than welcome. They can call us any time."

New equipment will be brought into the building to assist staff with their needs, but already everything is running smoothly, she added.

"I think it's exciting how everyone is acclimating to their new roles," Spearing said. "They're all becoming comfortable with their jobs."

John Hanna, one of the former owners of Wright's Bake Shop, was hired under the company and said he is happy to be able to keep working in the area. He hopes more former Wright's employees will return to his side while he adjusts to a new atmosphere.

"We're learning new techniques for baking and learning different formulas for recipes," he said.

Customers already are discovering the new tastes of Stone House Bread, quickly snatching up bread loaves, focaccia slices and baked cinnamon rolls in the morning hours.

Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Suzie Williams is pleased to see new life come downtown, peaking the curiosity of local residents and visitors.

"It's great news for the city that the building did not sit empty for long," she said. "It's wonderful that it's back up and running."