25 Aug Youthful Spirit and A Passion for Baking Is Bellflower Bake Shop
Sisters Hannah, and Heidi Hensley cut the ribbon to The Bellflower Bake Shop.
When Hannah and Heidi Hensley were growing up on Tilson Mountain in Unicoi County, they witnessed the power of fresh-baked bread in bringing their family together. Fast forward a decade and the smell of fresh-baked artisan bread is now creating a buzz so big for The Bellflower Bake Shop that much of their inventory is gone in a couple hours.
Heidi says she has a passion for making sourdough bread, one of the Bake Shop’s most popular items.
“I followed my passion by learning from my mom and grandmother the art and care of making great bread when I was 15,” says Heidi Hensley, Bellflower’s Master Baker. “I started selling my bread at the Downtown Farmer’s market when I was 16, and people fell in love with what I was selling. I worked at Ben McNabb’s Steel Rails Coffee House and learned a bit about business and customer service. Then, the big step of partnering with my sister Hannah who is the owner of Bellflower Bake Shop and opening a business. The only regret I have right now is that I wish I had a bigger oven.” This is a great story from a young woman who, along with her sister, now has four employees only a few months after earning her high school diploma.
The crowd flocking to The Bellflower Bake Shop makes Hannah and Heidi proud… and very busy.
“Hannah and Heidi exemplify the spirit of a new generation with a passion that makes Erwin’s downtown a destination,” says Austin Finch, Executive Director of the Unicoi County Joint Economic and Community Development Board. “When I met them, I was so impressed and wanted to help them live their dream.”
Decadent pastries are another big draw to The Bellflower Bake Shop.
“Austin was very supportive and helped us find some investors to lower the burden of costs in opening a new business,” Heidi explains. “We will never forget his encouragement and support.”
“We’ve been amazed that the support we have found in the community,” Heidi says. “We had a big grand opening and the crowds have been overwhelming. We offer all kinds of pastries, but customers love our bread, especially our sourdough loaves. I will put them on the self when we open at 10 a.m., and most days we are sold out by noon.”
“That’s no surprise,” says Austin Finch. “It’s the best bakery I’ve ever been to.”
“I love talking to my customers and Hannah and I are so thankful for the warm response we have received from the community,” Heidi concludes. “I’m so proud of what we have accomplished thus far and look forward to many great years in Erwin’s downtown.”
The Bellflower Bake Shop is on Main Street in downtown Erwin and open Tuesdays through Fridays 10am-6pm. On Saturdays, they are open from 9am until 2pm. Learn more at their Facebook page.