BK Bakery – Jefferson City (Where are they now?)
Update: Brandon and Ida Kelley moved the business to Kansas City in 2016 and it is now Brioche Pastry Shop.
Brandon Kelley, owner and executive pastry chef of B.K. Bakery on Missouri Boulevard, very conveniently located just off highways 50, 54 and 63 in Jefferson City, looks up. It’s about noon. Two kids have come in and are staring greedily at the disarming selection of doughnuts — old fashioned sour cream, strawberry cake, devil’s food cake, blueberry cake; and classic glazed, doughnut holes, chocolate glazed, bear claw and strawberry shot doughnuts. They murmur. It’s a tough decision.
“Doughnuts,” Kelley repeats. “That’s what the market wants. If 100 people walk in and see we don’t have what they want, they will walk out.”
We last profiled Kelley and his fabulous bakery in 2009, when he had just opened with the help of Chris Thompson, BDP business development specialist with MU Extension in Cole County. Thompson provides ongoing demographic and competitor research, financing advice and feedback on business plans, among other activities.
Kelley, who is about as classically trained as a chef can be — he studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., the West Point or Naval Academy of food — was determined to bring European-style pastries and quality coffee to Jefferson City. The bakery’s business was good, but he had too many customers walk in, see no doughnuts and walk out.
“As an entrepreneur, if I don’t embrace what the market wants, I am counting my days,” he says.
There was another incentive to embrace the market: His wife is pregnant with their first child, due in October.
“It’s a big thing, conceiving our first child, and it got us thinking. It was an eye opener. I just decided to embrace what we’ve built,” he says.
In this case, that meant providing doughnuts. Buying a semi-automated doughnut fryer on Craigslist for a fraction of its value which can be operated by just one person helped, of course.
“It starts with me, changing my attitude. I keep it simple.” He looks over and smiles at his glowing wife.
“We did it. We went from struggling, struggling, struggling, and now we’re in the second quarter of this year and things are looking really good.”
He looks over as Thompson picks up a sealed envelope Kelley has prepared with detailed financials.
Kelley holds the envelope up. “Now I can see exactly where I am in terms of costs, sales, things I never could before. It [the BDP] is a lovely program.” Thompson will review the data later.
Oh, and lest you think Kelly has abandoned his dedication to quality European pastries, the bakery also offers a staggering array of cakes; chocolate brioche and pecan sticky rolls; chocolate chip, cappuccino chocolate chip and blueberry muffins; ham and cheddar and caramel pecan scones; almond and chocolate almond croissants; macaroons, chocolate indulgence, molasses and snickerdoodle cookies; and — you get the picture. These offerings vary with the season, too.
BK Bakery regularly gets rave reviews. Here is just a sampling.
Their signature chocolate mousse cake will spoil you for other chocolate cakes for life.
A bakery worthy of New York or Paris in an inauspicious location in Jefferson City … absolutely beautiful pastries that taste as good as they look. What a find!
The vanilla bean cupcake was so confusingly good I have not wanted another one since.
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