Bri’s Bakehouse - A Sweet Story
Sabrina Schroeder, owner of Bri’s Bakehouse, was all smiles when we asked about her experience of recently opening her bakery in Downtown Toledo. Located at 1 SeaGate, commonly known as the Fifth Third building, Bri’s Bakehouse is a sweet spot for professionals downtown.
Bri is a born and raised Toledoan. She grew up just outside the city and while she thought she wanted to explore the world, the pull of Toledo brought her home. “I wanted to travel, but ended up back in Toledo and decided to make the most of it, which was really easy when seeing all of the exciting things that were starting to happen downtown.”
Bri’s Bakehouse opened on January 18, 2016. When asked about her journey, Bri responded, “It has definitely been interesting. There’s always a learning curve, especially when it is your first businesses, which is the case with us.”
Bri shared a lot about the support she has received since she moved back. The support that the Toledo community offers to small, local businesses and specifically women owned businesses, is extraordinary. As she began her journey to opening her bakehouse, Bri found this support system in several places, including at the Inverness club where she worked as a pastry chef. James Castle, executive chef at the Inverness Club, turned from boss, to mentor, to investor as in her new business which ultimately allowed her to start thinking big picture.
Finding an investor allowed her to start thinking big picture. The logical next step for Bri was to talk to someone in real estate to help her find her business’s home. Mike Fischer at Reichle Klein introduced her to the DevelUp Toledo program and the Toledo Small Business Development Center (SBDC). “I probably email them [the SBDC staff] a couple times a week or talk in person with them…everybody at the SBDC has been a great help in getting me started.”
Bri also found that local business owners were more than willing to offer their support and assistance as she worked on opening her bakehouse. Ed Beczynski, restaurateur in Toledo and owner of The Blarney and Focaccia’s, gave her many ideas and feedback. Franz Gilis, owner of Veritas Cork & Craft, has also been a big help. He carries a few of Bri’s desserts from time to time, and the two are in the process of developing a permanent dessert menu for the restaurant. She is looking forward to continuing to meet more downtown business owners.
“There is so much potential in downtown. I’m just excited to be a part of it and glad to be working down here.”
Her advice to other women looking to become entrepreneurs: take it day-by-day and have a plan, a really good plan, but be flexible with it. Next, she urges budding entrepreneurs to go talk to someone at the Small Business Development Center. “They are a really good sounding board for any ideas that you could possibly have, and they’re very realistic about your goals. They make sure you are prepared for what’s going to happen in your business. There are so many little things that you don’t think about when you own a business or if you’ve never started one before. It really helps to have someone who has been through it before to help you through it.”
Has this sweet story made you desperate for dessert? Bri’s Bakehouse items can be found at the Inverness Club, the Hilton Garden Inn, Brew Toledo, and Veritas. They can also be found at her shop on the lower level of 1 SeaGate. Stop by for breakfast or an afternoon snack. She carries danish, chocolate croissants, coffee cake, zucchini bread, and of course, her most popular item, cupcakes.