Green Blade Bakery was quiet Monday morning save for some melodic folk tunes playing as Mike Connelly prepped laminated pastry dough for buttery treats.
“Croissants and bear claws and snails,” Mike said, referencing the dough in his hands.
The community can expect even more treats from the bakery as the operation now has expanded its hours during the week.
Instead of closing at 2 p.m., the bakery will remain open until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Saturday hours of 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. remain the same.
Sandy and Mike Connelly, co-owners and operators of the bakery, extended hours after recently asking customers on the bakery’s Facebook page what the bakery could do to improve.
“That seemed to be the No. 1 complaint that we and many of the downtown food businesses close at 2,” Sandy said.
“This seemed to be striking a chord with a lot of customers … hopefully it will open up a whole new avenue of customers who have not been able to reach us or us reach them.”
More staff have been hired to help keep the business going during the added three and a half hours Tuesday through Friday.
It’s not the first time the bakery will be open full days, either.
About five years ago, the bakery used to be open in the afternoons and relished the time when students could hang out after school or when seniors could meet up for afternoon coffee. Business during those hours though were down at the time, which is why they shortened the schedule.
But with a slow start to business this year, the couple is willing to try the addition of afternoon hours again, especially at the request of many faithful customers.
“We brought it back,” Mike said. “The message was loud and clear.”
Time and change
The Connellys have made numerous changes big and small over the years, depending on personal, business, health and well-being needs, or as a response to their customers’ needs — or whatever life throws their way.
A couple months back, icy conditions led the driver of a pickup to run into the side of the building, Mike said.
The couple’s approach is to handle what arises in life and work with a degree of grace – and good humor, too. So they put a window in, and now customers can enjoy the sunlight from the back room, and the story about how it got there.
“The work itself, it helps you realize that in this life of ours, we have a whole lot of good things that wouldn’t have happened if it wouldn’t have been for something not so good happening,” Mike said.
The Connellys continue to find ways to evolve to better serve the community, too, to whom they believe the business belongs.
They are trying out new pastries and even a rice flour bread, aiming to provide something for those unable to eat wheat flour, Sandy said.
One of their next ventures is to also start the Green Blade Foundation to support scholarships for students in the Basin. To date, they and customers who donate have gifted a total of roughly $10,000 for educational scholarships. They plan to start their yearly giving campaign soon at the bakery.
Mike is also working on a book about the business with the couple’s daughter. It will be be a collection of writings and journal entries from the couple’s 12 years as a local business, and will also incorporate photographs taken by another family member.
The Connellys would also like to partner with an individual interested in opening a local mill in the future and are considering hiring a coordinator to identify more locally sourced products.
While Green Blade aims to navigate the ebb and flow of local economic conditions and other changes that come up while owning a small business, Sandy and Mike both still love operating the bakery after 12 years on the books.
“You just really learn how to roll with the punches,” Sandy said.
“If I ever get this business nailed down, I will probably retire,” Sandy said, with a laugh.
“People don’t have to worry about me ever retiring anytime soon.”
Originally published by the Herald and News.