A bittersweet transition for bakery

Bee’s Bakery will close its Belgium shop this weekend to gear up for the next chapter in the family business — an online operation that targets a national market

    After four years in business, Bee’s Bakery will soon close its Belgium store. But customers need not be sad as the company is looking to expand its business nationally.
    “We’ve had a lot of inquiries in the past about whether we ship. We haven’t tested it before, but now we’re ready to break into that market,” Bianca Dahm, co-owner of Bee’s Bakery, said. “We’ve had some sad customers, but they’re also wishing us the best. A lot of our regulars are asking if they can still pick up our bakery.”
    The family-owned business at 139 Main St. will shut its doors on Saturday, Dec. 23, and expects to start its new online operation in February.
    “Our goal is to be ready for Valentine’s Day,” Jena Schneider, co-owner and Dahm’s mother, said. “Our cut-out sugar cookies are super popular around the holidays.”
    The mother-daughter team said they are currently searching for a new kitchen location, which will either be in Ozaukee or Sheboygan counties.
    “We still don’t know what will happen, and we’re focused on our store because we’re still open,” Dahm said, noting they are busy finishing their holiday orders.
    Dahm also said the bakery, which sells an assortment of baked goods from cupcakes to pies, is going to limit its variety in order to accommodate a larger market.  
    “For now, we’re going to start with cookies, but we’re also thinking about shipping cupcakes,” she said. “We’re going to continue doing local orders for cakes around holiday time.”
    The bakery is currently reconfiguring its website for the transition, and it is going to open an online store on Etsy.
    Dahm said the company is working with several area businesses that will serve as pick up locations for local orders.
    “You can put your order in online and then we would drop it off at a central location,” she said. “We definitely pull customers from Grafton, Port and the Sheboygan area, and we don’t want to lose them by just having an online store.
    “We also have a few bigger clients that order cupcakes and cookies for holiday parties and other special events. We do weddings as well, and we look to continue doing that.”
    Dahm, 25, said she started the business because she didn’t want to follow the typical college path after graduating from Random Lake High School in 2011.
    “So I decided to go into baking. I didn’t know much about it, so we went to school for a year to learn more,” she said.
    In 2013, Dahm and Schneider earned a baking certificate from Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac.
    “We learned a lot about baking in the class,” said Schneider, who previously worked for 20 years at SEEK Careers/Staffing in Grafton, owned by her husband’s family, and credits her experience with helping her develop the bakery.
    “I grew up in the SEEK business, so I learned the SEEK way for doing business,” she said.
    The bakers said they pride themselves on using real ingredients, which they said gives their products a homemade taste.
    “It’s the love, that’s the first ingredient, and then we use real ingredients,” Schneider said. “And small batches help because we are a small bakery. We can make smaller batches and that makes a big difference in the taste.”
    “We also use real butter,” Dahm added. “It’s all about the butter.”
    Another partner in the bakery is Schneider’s youngest daughter and Dahm’s sister, Asia Schneider, who is a senior in high school and works for the business when she’s not in class.
    “She’s our best employee, and she’s great with the customers,” Dahm said.
    Dahm and Schneider said they’ll miss seeing their regular customers every day.
    “It’s been great the relationships we’ve built in this community. I’m going to miss our loyal people that sometimes just come in to chat,” Dahm said. “We want to make their day special, whether it’s their wedding, Christmas or they just want to bring a treat for their co-workers. It makes us feel special that we can make other people happy.”



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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