Michele Bowman has dreamt of opening up a bakery since she was a child. This January, her dream will come true.
After years of working on other priorities including raising her own kids and helping her husband further his is career, Michele, the owner of The Little White Kitchen Baking Co., thinks now is the time to make her dream a priority. For the last few months, she has been busy renovating a space in the heart of Ford City on Drouillard Road with the hopes of opening the doors in January.
The Little White Kitchen first started off with as a food blog with Michele putting her skills as a wedding photographer to work when stylizing her own baked creations.
“Once I stopped shooting weddings, Saturdays became free and I needed something to do,” Michele said. “That’s when we jumped into the Downtown Windsor Farmer’s Market. From there it snowballed into bigger things and the business eventually outgrew my house.”
Many questioned her decision to locate within Ford City, but, she never had any doubt. After first visiting the location this summer, she continued searching for units throughout the city. Nothing felt right for her. She couldn’t get the Drouillard location out of her mind.
“Ford City is a forgotten community with a lot of passion and a lot of really beautiful spaces,” she says. “I don’t have any preconceived ideas of the neighbourhood since I didn’t grow up in Windsor.”
Michele mentions that those living in the neighbourhood are tired of being forgotten and having a stigma attached.
“Everyone in the neighbourhood has been very friendly and supportive,” she explains. “The more people I meet, the more I know I made the right decision.”
When asked what customers can expect once the doors open, Michele laughs saying she herself hardly knows what to expect. She plans on opening the bakery for just a few days a week to get a feel for it and adjust the hours of operation as needed. There will also be more products offered. Originally, The Little White Kitchen was known for being exclusively gluten free, however, this will change once the doors open at the Drouillard location. Michelle insists she plans on continuing to cater to her gluten free clients and provide them exactly what they’ve come to expect from her. With a larger space to bake, she is now able to create non-gluten free options without fear of cross contamination.
Michele also plans on giving back to the neighbourhood which has welcomed her with open arms. One goal is offering free baking classes to those in the neighbourhood that are in need. Years ago, when her children were younger and her husband was enhancing his skills in university, she said her family had a hard time just affording bread.
“A lot of people would say that it’s just a dollar or two for bread,” she recalls. “When you haven’t got that dollar, it’s really tough to feed your family.”
It was then that she learned to bake bread. She says it was a huge encouragement for her and made a big difference in her family grocery bills. Now she wants to pass on that knowledge to help others.
“Somebody has to believe in Ford City so why not a bakery?”