Section: News

Bake shop and boutique will open in Farr spaces next fall

The Birds of a Feather Bake Shop & Boutique will open by the beginning of the 2024-25 school year in the first-floor commercial space at 114 Gaskin Avenue. The combined bake shop and boutique will be the second new business approved to move into downtown Gambier this year, joining the Marlow Salon and Spa. 

Gambier resident and Kenyon alumna Lisa Jacobs ’87 will own and operate the bake shop and boutique. As the current proprietor of the Happy Owl Mobile Bakery, Jacobs has catered many Kenyon events this school year, such as the Village Lights this past December, the Solar Eclipse Viewing on April 8 and various Bicentennial events. 

“It felt like a good decision to come back here where there’s this energetic, eager population who would probably appreciate baked goods,” Jacobs said in an interview with the Collegian. “My recollection as a college student was that there weren’t that many opportunities around Gambier and Mount Vernon, unless you had a car and you could drive to Columbus. So I thought I’d come and fill that gap.”

Though construction of 112 and 114 Gaskin Avenue finished before the 2019-20 academic year, the first-floor commercial spaces could not be immediately leased due to the pandemic. Now, these commercial spaces have the opportunity to bring new business to the Village. Once Jacobs gets her planned layout approved by the Knox County Health Department and the Village of Gambier, contractors will install the necessary modifications in the space. After the Health Department inspects the space, it will issue the permit necessary for opening.

However, the incoming bake shop will not be preparing its treats on site. Gambier’s zoning for the 112 and 114 Gaskin Ave. locations prohibits businesses that prepare food on site, with the goal of preventing competition between other Gambier businesses. The Gaskin Ave. locations also lack some necessary features for food preparation, such as high-capacity ventilation systems, which industries like restaurants and cafes require. For Jacobs, this wasn’t an issue.

“I didn’t want to compete with the other enterprises that have been here for a long time: the Gambier Deli, the Weather Vane… even the Village Market,” Jacobs said. “My goal was to fill in the spaces in between.”

Luckily, Jacobs is also no stranger to operating without an on-site kitchen — she bakes for the Happy Owl Mobile Bakery at the Yellowbird Foodshed’s Woodward Kitchen, a kitchen rental space in Mount Vernon. She plans to do the same for the treats at Birds of a Feather, baking the treats in Mount Vernon each morning before bringing fresh goodies to Gambier.

Though she loves baking, there’s a reason Jacobs’ new shop also includes “boutique” in the name. After spending a lot of time on the Village of Gambier website, she learned that the Village was looking for ways to draw in those on the Kokosing Gap Trail into the Village, rather than taking the path around. 

“I thought, ‘well, what would draw people in besides sweets?’” Jacobs said. “I got to know people in the area, a lot of local craftsmen and a lot of people who pride themselves on the products that they make. [I thought], what if it was a locavore kind of movement?”

Jacobs has always prioritized sustainable community support by using locally sourced goods. She supplies her ingredients from Local Millers, who provide locally grown and milled flour, as well as other central Ohio honey producers, syrup producers, orchards and vegetable and chicken farmers. She plans to take this a step further with her new shop, stocking local craftwork as well.

“I found a couple who — I think they’ve been doing this for close to 30 years — they make birdhouses out of fallen trees that they’ve found,” Jacobs said. “They make bird feeders and these beautifully milled birdhouses out of local wood… things that would have just been put in a landfill.”

To Jacobs, these birdhouses were a great representation of the craftspeople community in central Ohio. “That’s how ‘Birds of a Feather’ sort of came about,” Jacobs said. “I felt like all of these people have something in common, you know, we’re birds of a feather. And we want to work within the small community and offer things to the members of our community.”

In addition to supplying the local goods she plans on selling in store, Jacobs wants the space to be welcoming to the community of Gambier. “In the evenings, on the weekends, I would love to open it up to private parties, if somebody wanted to rent the space. I can provide catering,” Jacobs explained. “It can be a space to be with people in comfort and surrounded by some beautiful things.”

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