Paola’s Pastries wants to show customers how much love and attention goes into baked goods
Bake it, and they will come. Customers came in waves as Paola's Pastries opened its doors Friday in downtown Grand Forks. Owner Maria Chaparro and her crew--made up entirely of family members--didn't have much time to rest as patrons eagerly watc...
Bake it, and they will come.
Customers came in waves as Paola's Pastries opened its doors Friday in downtown Grand Forks. Owner Maria Chaparro and her crew-made up entirely of family members-didn't have much time to rest as patrons eagerly watched her fill clear packages with their sweet orders.
But that's a good problem to have, Chaparro said, adding she was thrilled about how well the store did on opening day.
"The support of the community has been incredible," Chaparro said as she sat down-possibly the first time since the store opened-for an interview with the Herald. "I'm impressed, I'm overwhelmed and I'm excited."
After the brief rest, it was back to selling sweets to curious customers. The store was so busy it had to close over the lunch hour to restock certain items. After buying 60 eggs, she was down to her last dozen just three hours after she opened. But the crew continued to fill the glass containers with goodies like PB&J cupcakes and caramel brownies sprinkled with candied bacon.
Chaparro's is the first downtown bakery to serve baked goods since Dakota Harvest Bakers closed its doors in September. Paola's will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.
Though she is the first professional baker in her family, cooking is in her blood. Chaparro said her grandmother was an amazing cook and baker who knew her recipes by heart. Chaparro recalled watching her grandmother cook without measuring her ingredients and still managing to make everything taste wonderfully.
Her grandmother served as an inspiration for Chaparro to make baking more than a hobby, she said. She was making baked goods out of her home in Crookston for special occasions. Since her business was doing well, she wanted to take it to the next level.
Though she said she had been looking into a Grand Forks store for a couple of years, finding a downtown location sort of happened by chance. Helix Wine and Bites used to occupy the storefront at 110 N. Third St. but decided to move to a larger location in south Grand Forks. Owner Mike Schepp said he had done well in the almost year and a half he had been at the downtown location, telling Chaparro she could come look at the place if interested.
"I thought it was the right size to start," she said, adding she moved to East Grand Forks to be closer to her store.
Chaparro wanted the store to have a family feel to it as opposed to looking like a factory. The intimate setting has a few two-seat tables, one table for four and countertop seating looking out the window onto Third Street. The kitchen is partitioned off, but customers can see everything going on through the large window.
"I wanted it to feel like me," she said. "I wanted (my customers) to take a look and see what you see is what you get."
Family has come from across the country and even Venezuela to support her, she said. From the front counter to the colors in the wall, her family helped her decide what the store should look like. Even her mother has a painting on one of the walls.
Chaparro said she plans to take orders for special occasions, though she asks that people call ahead to make an appointment and plan out the specialized treats. Patrons wanting simple orders for events or birthdays should call at least a week in advance while more complex orders like wedding cakes may need a month or longer. That could change depending on how popular the bakery becomes.
In the end, she wants to make sure her customers feel the love that went into her dream.
"I want to take the time with everything that we make and give it love and attention," she said.
Owner: Maria Chaparro
Location: 110 N. Third St. Grand Forks
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon Sunday
Phone: (701) 775-1050