The story behind Sunflour Bakery began many years ago when Elizabeth Carlson was employed at Baklajava, a bakery formerly located at 10 East Main Street in the village. “I started working at Baklajava fourteen years ago when my two youngest were in still in elementary school,” she explains. Working under owner Betsy Ern, Elizabeth began at the bakery as counter help.
“Eventually Betsy asked if I wanted to try baking, and then I began cake decorating. She gave me my start – I didn’t know that I had any cake decorating talent,” she adds.
Even at a young age, the Carlson children, Emma, Annie, Ali, and Robbie, were willing to lend a hand as their mother learned her trade. “While I was working there, the kids would take the school bus to the store, and they would help us out,” recalls Elizabeth. “We would get milk cartons for them to stand on, and they would put on little aprons and help do the dishes and measure out ingredients. They were always involved at the store, and got paid in food.”
The idea for Sunflour Bakery came from daughter Ali. Explains Rob Carlson: “Ali was the biggest instigator. She thought it was a good opportunity since she had just graduated from URI and could help out, so she started looking for places.” Eventually the family settled on the 2,000-square-foot location at 5 Broad Street in the village. Previously, the location was the site of a printer, a butcher shop, a machine shop, and most recently, a church.
Once the location was decided on, the Carlsons began renovating the space to turn it into a bakery. “The first step was to make the layout for the kitchen, and then Ali and her boyfriend wanted to include space for community events and birthday parties,” says Rob. “We want everyone to be comfortable.”
Renovations began in October, with the building being gutted to allow for the installation of new ceilings, walls, sheet rock and an entirely new layout. The finished product now boasts ample counter space, a coffee roaster, and socially distanced seating for customers. The bakery’s kitchen was outfitted with a doughnut fryer, cake decorating area, blast freezer, and numerous refrigerators and freezers to store baking ingredients. After our recent renovations we have added an area to the kitchen so that we can make lunches and to-go meals. The shop also offers outdoor seating in warm weather.
The Sunflour Bakery is now open for business 5 days a week and customers have an extensive menu to choose from including biscuits, scones, muffins, cookies, doughnuts, cream puffs, macaroons, and brownies. We now offer a lunch menu as well. You can also order a specialty cake in different sizes for any occasion, including birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries. We have also partnered with local merchants to provide vegan and gluten-free options as well as coffee from our own roaster. The bakery also displays and sells artwork from local artists.
The Carlson family is excited to become a part of the local commerce community. “Everyone has been really supportive of us so far,” says Rob. “We have some dear close friends who will help us out, but this is really a family affair. And really, it’s a Pawling thing here.”
*Story first appeared in its entirety by The Pawling Record.
Get the latest updates on what’s going on in the bakery.