Much like the superheroes on TV, behind each of our favorite local businesses lies an origin story. While some of us have only heard of “Bakewell tarts” from shows like the Great British Bake Off, Jessica Pearse grew up visiting England with her family where her nana always had a tin of British treats waiting at her house. She loved working in the kitchen with her and learning about the history of the snacks. When she came back home to the US though, she found it hard to find the classic treats she grew up with at the same quality that they were in England. Jessica played with the idea of starting her own business, but the prospect was daunting. Instead of jumping in all at once, she explored the possibility slowly and carefully. During their weekends, she would explore the Minneapolis neighborhoods with her husband. They’d pick a business or area they wanted to try and go check it out. As they did this, she picked up things she liked and disliked about different stores and noticed that there were no classic British baked goods around!
One weekend, she stumbled across the Neighborhood Roots website and saw our post about the Fulton Bake Off. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to test one of her flagship recipes: Cherry Bakewell Squares. Though a small contest, it still gave her a chance to hone the recipe and get feedback from the community while she worked towards opening her own shop. When she won the contest, it was a huge boost of confidence and gave her another reason to believe her dream is possible. She’s currently still moving forward with her idea and researching the licensing and permits needed. Her store, named after her nana, Blanche Wade, will be called Nana’s Bake Shoppe and is set to launch in October as a cottage food business. Her focus will be on the traditions she grew up with around British baked goods and the history of her family while also honoring her own nana.
Their slogan will be “Baking memories, one British treat at a time.” Jessica and her husband hope that their treats will remind people of their own visits to grandmother’s house (or nana’s as the case may be). It’s been a long road even to get this far, and Jessica is so excited to see where her dream takes her. Like many of our vendors, Jessica will start in markets and as an online business for private orders, with the hope of eventually making it to her own store. Keep an eye out for her this fall! We can’t wait to try more of her recipes.