When Able Baker opened its doors on Oct. 1, 2011, wife-and-husband owners Julie and Thomas Pauly weren't quite sure what to expect.
Though Julie had been running a web-based baking business for a couple of years after making the switch from a long-time career in retail, she had never owned her own place.
On that first day, "we sold out of everything in one and a half hours," she said. Since then, the bakery has continued to attract a large and dedicated customer base, becoming a popular addition to the Village.
The combination of freshly made, high quality scones, cookies, brownies and cakes -- plus the place's cheerful, welcoming vibe made it a hit from the beginning. "Plus there was a little luck involved," she said.
The La Colombe coffee boasts its share of admirers. "When you have good coffee that people get devoted to, that's key," Julie said.
The friendly, well-trained staff of 12 is another asset. "I love our staff," said Julie. "They are all locals, and they all just like to be here."
The bakery draws a wide range of people, from parents who stop in for a scone after dropping the kids off at school, to nearby workers getting a quick pick me up, to locals in need of a coffee fix to the afterschool crowd. The owners also continue to do a brisk business in custom-made cakes.
So how will Able Baker celebrate its first year? With and for its customers, of course. On Saturday, as part of Maplewood Village's Customer Appreciation Day, the bakery will hand out slices of birthday cake (chocolate or pumpkin.).
Stop by and say Happy Birthday!