From the farmers market to the marketplace, the Bearfoot Bakery opens downtown storefront

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The Bearfoot Bakery was one of the first Kodiak businesses to announce it would set up shop in the downtown mall. The owners had a soft opening last month and business is picking up for the local venture. 

“We’re trying to get all of our pastries out, bagels, donuts, scones, cinnamon rolls, croissants, but generally we’ve got a couple dozen loaves of bread out ready by the time we open,” said Crystal Burnside, one of the co-owners of the Bearfoot Bakery, during an early Tuesday morning.

The aroma of butter, sugar, and sourdough filled the mall, January 23, 2024. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

She said she prepares the dry ingredients the day before, but is usually at the store by 4 a.m. to make sure all the baked goods are ready by the time customers start streaming in. 

“It’s a guessing game almost every single day to try to figure out how much we actually want to have made,” Crystal said. 

She said some of their products like croissants take up to three days of prep before they’re ready to be sold. Anything left after they close gets donated locally to places like the homeless shelter or police station. 

Chad (left) and Crystal (right) Burnside have incorporated baking as an integral part of their family’s quality time, January 24, 2024. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

Chad Burnside is Crystal’s husband and the other co-owner. He said this is the first time Bearfoot Bakery has been in a storefront, but they started making goods about 20 years ago when they moved to Kodiak. 

“One thing we noticed is that if you wanted something and it wasn’t here, you just have to learn how to do it yourself,” he said. “And it’s just kind of that Alaska spirit right? Just kind of ingenuity and do-it-yourself sort of attitude.”

The couple said they started small with just a few items like bread on a table at the farmers market when it was at the Fairgrounds. Crystal said over the years it went from a side hustle for some extra cash to the bakery taking up a significant part of their lives. 

Jannie Mangalus has worked with the couple since they were based in the farmer’s market, January 24, 2024. (Brian Venua)

“We went from one table that we weren’t even filling, to now when we go to the farmers market we have five tables there that are packed and overflowing and stuff stacked up,” she said.

The new facility now runs high-end commercial ovens, programmable proofing equipment and large mixers, as well as stores hundreds of pounds of baking ingredients like flour. 

Chad said all of their baking equipment used to take up more than two rooms but their house looks completely different now that they have the commercial space. 

“When this opened, we moved all that stuff into here [the bakery] and so all of a sudden at our house, we have like two new rooms. So that was really nice,” he said.

Crystal said while running a business can be tiring, it’s a dream come true. 

“It’s still kind of surreal,” she said. “I walk in, in the morning, and it’s quiet and I’m here by myself and it’s just kind of a feeling that I don’t know that we can wrap our head completely around it yet. Just getting in and working and doing all of this and working in this space – it doesn’t always feel like this is ours.” 

Sometime in the near future the couple plans to open the Bearfoot Bakery earlier at 7 a.m. and expand their menu to include hot served foods for breakfast and lunch.

Hailee Wallace is one of their front of house staff and helps prepare the displays, January 24, 2024. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

 

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