RACINE — In a bygone era, a city’s downtown, its Main Street would have a diverse collection of small businesses and shops including, very likely, a bakery.
Now Racine’s Downtown has that. Main Street Bakery, 328 Main St., is scheduled to open today.
On Thursday, baker and part-owner Maria Farnsworth was baking pinwheels and cream puffs — to be filled with cream later — for her Saturday opening day. The décor was finished and perfect, and all that needed to be done was stock up on pastries and breads, and then make the coffee that morning.
Farnsworth’s two partners — friends of hers — are Crystal Meller and Eric Hamber. All three worked together to get the 3,500-square-foot shop ready for the opening. Farnsworth’s daughter, Lauren Woodward, who had been with Larsen’s Bakery, is the front-end manager.
“I have always wanted to have my own place,” said Farnsworth, who has about 35 years of baking experience: the last 15 years as the cake decorator for the Piggly Wiggly at 3900 Erie St.; previous stints with Lehman’s Bakery and O&H Danish Bakery; and as a freelance cake decorator for decades.
The catalyst for actually starting her own bakery was when Hamber called her, Farnsworth said. “It was when Eric called and said, ‘If somebody could help you come up with the financial backing, would you be interested in it?’
“And my first answer was, ‘No! Well, maybe,” Farnsworth said.
Woodward added, “She (Farnsworth) became friends with Eric and actually baked him a couple treats that impressed him so much that he decided he wanted to back her in a business.”
Ultimately, Farnsworth decided she had to give it a try. “I didn’t want to wake up when I was 80 years old and go, ‘Oh, I had a chance! And I let it go.’”
‘What do I want to make?’
Main Street Bakery will offer seven to 10 kinds of bread each day, muffins, rolls, donuts, pies, cupcakes, baby cakes, Napoleons, cream puffs, eclairs, cream horns, pinwheels and cakes to order. Eventually, Farnsworth hopes that cakes for all types of occasions will make up at least half of her business.
Back to her decision to open her own bakery:
“I did kind of like the idea of that every day after I do the staples — the breads, the rolls, the donuts — that I could just say, ‘Well, what do I want to make today?’ “ Farnsworth said. And just have a little leeway, where I didn’t have a corporation saying, ‘You gotta have this, you gotta have that.’ ”
Farnsworth describes her bakery’s décor as having a “farmhouse theme.” The 30-seat bakery is open, spacious and bright, with a high tin ceiling, window seating and loft seating, and WiFi.
“I wanted a place where people could come and sit and relax, have a cup of coffee, people-watch out of the windows, eat some pastries, some sweets, linger for a little while,” Farnsworth said. “I just wanted a homey feel.”
Most regular donuts and bagels sell for 99 cents, cinnamon rolls and muffins for $1.49 and bread prices vary. The bakery serves coffee from Wilson’s Coffee & Tea, 3306 Washington Ave., and a regular cup costs $1.
Before long, Farnsworth said, she also plans to carry a few grocery staples such as milk, eggs, cheese, butter, and maybe a little produce from the farmers market.
Main Street Bakery is scheduled to be open from 2-6 p.m. Saturday. Thereafter it will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information call 262-770-4111.