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Home Business The Sweetish Baker to open brick-and-mortar shop on Stockbridge Road in Great...

The Sweetish Baker to open brick-and-mortar shop on Stockbridge Road in Great Barrington

Hanna Jensen, owner of The Sweetish Baker. (Photo contributed)

GREAT BARRINGTON— The building that formerly housed Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe on Stockbridge Road has a new tenant.
After a three-year search for a retail location, Hanna Jensen has set up her new bakery, The Sweetish Baker, there.
“I couldn’t have possibly found a place that has more love filling it,” said Jensen, who spoke of her adoration for the former owners of Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe, Debbie and John Scalia. “They’re absolutely wonderful people.”
Jensen, a native of Great Barrington, has been baking her whole life and comes from a long line of home bakers and cooks. Her mother, Wendy Jensen, who is known for basketmaking in the region, would bake for basketmaking classes she taught — coffee cake in the morning and cookies for the afternoon. Her grandmother, Judith Gadbois, also known as the “food maven of Salem, Connecticut” is among the special influences Jensen says that she’s had in her life.
During her senior year of high school, she held an internship at the Berkshire Food Co-op that she says expanded her culinary horizons. The internship allowed her to explore her creativity, she said.
In 2005, she was responsible for the small number of baked goods offered by the prepared foods department until she was advised by the manager at the time to sit down and write a proposal to implement a full-scale baking program. Once the proposal was approved, she became the Berkshire Food Co-op’s first head baker of its brand-new bakery sub-department. She credits that experience in further developing her creativity and baking skills. Two years later, The Sweetish Baker was born.
Since 2007, Jensen has been working out of her kitchen in Great Barrington to create and sell goods for the residential and wholesale bakery.
While the business has grown, the endeavor hasn’t been without its challenges, she said.
“There’s a lot of trucking things back and forth and it has started to encroach on my living space,” said Jensen, admitting that there is now a refrigerator in her living room. “It creates the opportunity for me to force myself to work more effectively or more efficiently. It’s quite an incredible space.”
Jensen is a member of Berkshire Grown, a vendor for the Winters Farmers Market and supplies her product to several area businesses like Guido’s Fresh Marketplace or LaBonne’s Market in Salisbury, Connecticut. The demand at the farmers markets continues to increase. Jensen estimated having to make 150 pie crusts for three different markets per week over the summer. Her pie crusts, which are all-butter crusts, are something that her customers rave about and are among her most popular items, she said.
There are also limitations to working out of her own kitchen, she said. If a particular product needs to be refrigerated after it’s made, Jensen was prevented from creating it for sale under her previous license. With a retail space, however, that means she can expand her offerings to include those items that require refrigeration after they’re done baking, like custard and crème pies, and quiches.
Between renovations and purchasing four new pieces of equipment, Jensen estimates that she’s put roughly a $20,000 investment into the business. While Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe had a larger dining area for customers, the granola operation for wholesale of The Sweetish Baker requires a significant amount of space, she said. As a result, she decided to expand the kitchen and is installing a larger retail counter that was custom-built by her stepfather, Stephen Moore. The business will be more of a walk-in style bakery, she said.
The specialties inside that retail counter will change with the season, but among some of the staples will be a double-chocolate raspberry cake — because it’s her mother’s favorite — as well as carrot cake, galettes, cookies and muffins. In addition to some of the more traditional flavors, Jensen says people can expect to see some savory muffins like her Florentine, which has basil, pesto, spinach and cheddar cheese.
The new retail location for The Sweetish Baker has been slated to open in May, but that is subject to change based on the Stay at Home advisory set by Gov. Charlie Baker to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus. Jensen said that since the virus was declared she’s seen a spike in granola sales.
“People are buying it like mad,” she said. “It’s a very shelf-stable product, so even if this [crisis] were to be resolved in two weeks, the product is going to be okay, because it’s going to last.”
The business hours for The Sweetish Baker is slated to be Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
To watch for the official grand opening date, visit thesweetishbaker.com or check out thesweetishbaker on Instagram or Facebook.

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