For the past few weeks, the papered-up windows at Ceres Bakery may have caused a few passersby to worry over the fate of the popular Kalispell bakery. But after closing for two weeks of renovations, Ceres has reopened with a facelift and a continuation of its favorite offerings.
“We’re sprucing it up. We’re making it a little bit nicer,” said Hannah Bjornson, who runs the bakery with her husband, Rick Grimm.
Ceres Bakery opened in 2006, and Bjornson and Grimm bought the building a year and a half ago. Since then, the bakery has become popular throughout the valley for its fresh-baked goods and its wholesale business with stores such as Super 1 Foods.
This month marks their 14th year in business, so Bjornson and Grimm decided the time had finally come to make a few renovations.
“We decided it’s time to spruce it up a little,” Bjornson said.
The remodel brought top-to-bottom changes to the downtown destination, including redesigning the café section and refurbishing the equipment in the back.
“We’re changing up the vibe a little bit,” Bjornson reported. Longtime patrons might be surprised to see new flooring, a new ceiling, new lighting and new display cabinets. The familiar yellow color scheme has been replaced by a blue and white theme, and a counter along one of the walls was added to increase seating in the small “European-style” eatery.
Bjornson believes this new design will be brighter and help to improve the flow of customers. “It’s a little more inviting,” she observed.
The most visible change, however, are the new display counters, which have been updated to make all of Ceres’ many treats easier for customers to see. The building’s limited space caused the owners to rethink their setup to better showcase all of the offerings.
“It’s going to be a lot cleaner and easier to see everything,” Bjornson noted.
Until now, the cramped space prevented Bjornson and Grimm from displaying all of their options. “It was hard to see,” she admitted. “A lot of people didn’t know we have breakfast sandwiches. It was kind of a secret menu.
“A lot more people will be able to enjoy everything,” she added.
The new counters also include a refrigerated display case, which will expand Ceres’ inventory. In particular, this addition will allow them to start offering savory pastries. “That’ll be exciting,” Bjornson noted.
Less obvious to customers are updates to the equipment, such as the espresso machine. Bjornson said the well-loved device received the mechanical equipment of a “spa day” in Missoula during the renovations.
The espresso machine required the special care of one of only a few qualified technicians in the country, but Bjornson, Grimm and their 10-year-old daughter did most of the other work themselves.
They started as soon as the café closed on Jan. 4, and Bjornson said the project was a nice bonding opportunity for the entrepreneurial family. Plus, the experience helped the couple introduce their daughter to the nitty-gritty realities of running a small business.
The remodel took two weeks, but this brief closure was two weeks too long for some of the Ceres faithful.
Bjornson said more than a few concerned customers popped in during renovations to see if the bakery was permanently closing, and one loyal patron bypassed the papered-up windows and dismantled front counters because he had a hankering for Ceres’ bread that simply couldn’t be put off.
He and the rest of Ceres’ patrons will be relieved to know the ovens are now back up and running.
And despite the cosmetic changes, Bjornson promised the café and wholesale program will remain business as usual. “It’s all the same coffee, the same treats and bread,” she said.
Ceres Bakery is located at 318 South Main Street in Kalispell. Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at email@example.com or 758-4459.