JEFFERSON – By 9 a.m. on Friday, the Jefferson Bakehouse had already sold 60 cinnamon rolls, and employees were making their sixth batch of the treats that day.
“It makes me want to cry, both with excitement and exhaustion,” said owner Amanda Nelson, as employees hustled behind her in the small kitchen.
The Jefferson Bakehouse opened up about a month ago, and things have been getting busier and busier for the small-town business.
The cinnamon rolls are the top sellers at the bakery, and Nelson has launched several options, including a maple bacon variety. Apple pie, blueberry and s’mores cinnamon rolls also are in the rotation.
Another popular menu item is pocket pizzas, which have traditional toppings inside and can be ordered with different dipping sauces. Coming soon will be breakfast pizza pockets.
The business also offers doughnuts, muffins, cookies, breakfast cereal marshmallow bars and more. Pop-Tart-style pastries are a special every Wednesday, and biscuits and gravy are served on weekends.
“Everything is made from scratch and handmade,” Nelson said.
The bulk of the bakery’s customers are from Jefferson, but Nelson said her business is perfectly situated between Salem and Albany, so she’s able to draw from those towns as well.
Nelson, 35, got an early start in the restaurant business when she was growing up in Tuscon, Arizona. Her parents own the Baggin’s Gourmet Sandwiches chain, which has 11 locations.
“Nobody else in my family baked, so I was the baker,” Nelson said. She made a plethora of cookies over the years, as customers receive a free cookie with every Baggin’s sandwich.
Nelson opened her first business, The Fix, a Tuscon restaurant specializing in macaroni and cheese concoctions, when she was 28.
She sold the business to become a mom, and later moved with her family to Oregon. Nelson’s husband, Adam Nelson, is a Jefferson native.
Nelson created the food cart Scooped, which she later sold to another family, who renamed it Street Sweets. That business is now part of the Barn at Hickory Station in North Albany, a collection of culinary trucks and carts.
Her next venture was to fulfill her dream of opening up her own bakery.
Nelson’s son, 5-year-old Kade Nelson, can often be found chatting up customers at the Jefferson Bakehouse, which he considers his own business.
“He sits out there and literally talks to everybody,” Nelson said.
And Kade bakes almost every day at home, making up his own recipes. His favorite treats are cupcakes.
Angie Blanshan, who works at the Jefferson Baptist Church, stopped by to pick up baked goodies from the Jefferson Bakehouse on Friday morning.
“We’re putting in new windows at the church and I have to spoil my guys. This is the place to go,” Blanshan said.
She said that the bakery was a great addition to the small town.
Nelson could be adding another culinary attraction to Jefferson soon. She plans on opening up a pizza joint next to the Jefferson Bakehouse within six months.
The Jefferson Bakehouse, 277 N. Second St., is open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information, call 458-233-9008 or go to the business’ Facebook page.
Kyle Odegard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.