While the leap from home kitchen to retail shop can be daunting, Morning Glory bakery owners Laurie and Dave Wadle knew it was time to expand as they juggled increasing consumer and wholesale orders, and life with three young children. With help from the Marshall Economic Development Impact Committee (MEDIC), their Marshalltown, Iowa-based retail bakery opened its doors in July, three years after Laurie Wadle launched the business.
“We just outgrew our home,” Laurie Wadle says. “It was a scary move, but MEDIC was amazing in helping us find funding as a targeted small business.”
The bakery is named after Wadle’s childhood nickname. “My parents would always say, ‘morning Laurie,’ when I came down for breakfast and it stuck,” she says. So when it came time to name the bakery, Wadle couldn’t refuse her mom’s request to call it Morning Glory. “Anytime you can make your mother happy for free, you should do it.”
The 3,500-sq.-ft. space is evenly divided between two floors–with production and an office downstairs and retail on the first floor. The bakery is located on 13th St., a once busy street in Marshalltown that is being redeveloped. “Developers wanted us there for a destination shop on 13th because it used to be a really integral part of town, and they’re trying to get it back to that ‘Main Street’ feel,” she says.
The bakery had a soft launch on July 6. Aside from a Facebook announcement, little fanfare was planned for opening day. “We kind of snuck open,” Wadle says. “We didn’t want to get too busy right at the beginning, so our thought was we would unlock the door and see what happened. There was a line out the door all day.” As Marshalltown is largely a blue-collar demographic, Wadle says a red carpet-style opening wouldn’t have been well received, though they did have a grand opening on Oct. 1, which also attracted heavy foot traffic.
“You have to know your customers. That kind of thing would work in a larger town with a higher income market. My customers want to see that the wall isn’t fully painted yet, but they can still get a muffin.”
The bakery does roughly $1,200 in sales on an average day–with weekends bringing in about $1,800, higher than the Wadles had projected for the first year.
The most popular product is the cinnamon caramel roll, and the bakery also carries pies, cupcakes, rolls, donuts, pastries, breads, cookies, cheesecakes, special occasion cakes, coffee and specialty coffee drinks. The production space is equipped with four mixers, two convection ovens, two proofers, three freezers and two coolers.
The bakery has 14 employees–four of whom, including the Wadles–are full time. Production starts at 3:30 a.m., with cinnamon rolls going in the proofer and turnovers and croissants going into the oven. After that, the staff starts filling orders and prepping breakfast and lunch. The day ends with cinnamon rolls, too, as they are prepped and put into chilled storage for the next day. “The majority of the hours are production,” Wadle says. “We do a lot of wholesaling and I see that taking off more.”
As for what the future holds aside from the burgeoning wholesale business, Wadle is open to ideas, from a second location on the south side of town to offering holiday cookies at the local mall to selling cinnamon roll dough to distributors. “We thought we would have so much room and take awhile to outgrow it, and my kitchen is already packed. It’s going well, so we will have to see what happens. There are a lot of possibilities.”