LONG BEACH — It’s been a sweet start for the new bakery in the bright yellow building along Pioneer Road.
Sadie and Josie’s Bakery held their official grand opening May 9 at 204 Pioneer Rd. in Long Beach, the culmination of a year-long transformation that brought new life into a structure that sat stagnant nearly 10 years.
“We had people first thing. It was exciting,” said baker and co-owner Sadie Shapovalov after a soft opening on Thursday, April 30. “We didn’t know what to expect but it’s been steadily busy.”
The bakery is a family-run business with each family member fulfilling different roles, producing everything from scratch by hand from cakes to candies.
“Between me, my brother and sister, there’s eight kids, but one isn’t old enough to work,” Shapovalov said.
“When they’re 16, I put them on schedule for cleanup, but they can’t touch mixers until they’re 18. Their level of responsibility goes up with their age. We have cakes, pies, cinnamon rolls, Danish, bear claws, scones, muffins, pudding rings, caramel and pecan bars, lemon bars, cookies, brownies — candies are big,” Shapovalov said.
“Basically everything but donuts, because there’s just not enough room here for a fryer. Depending how this does, if we do well, we’ve talked about building another building that would be big enough for a fryer. In La Center, donuts are one of our biggest sellers.”
Shapovalov considers their sourdough bread as one of their specialties.
“Our sourdough starter is over 200 years old. It’s an authentic sourdough without any vinegar or sugar,” she said.
“It’s not gluten-free but a lot of people — because it has wild yeast — your body digests it as a protein and not a carbohydrate. A lot of people who are gluten intolerant can eat the sourdough with no problems. I had a friend who didn’t have bread for seven years. Now she gets it every week. We have a huge gluten-free clientele that can eat the sourdough just because the enzymes and how the body processes it.”
The wild yeast takes longer to rise but gives the signature sour taste, Shapovalov said.
“The longer it sits the more sour it is, so they have to sit overnight,” she explained. “Sourdough is fascinating, a scientific wonder.”
The sourdough is among the more time-consuming and labor-intensive products and routinely sells out.
“That’s the snagging point. The bakery is only so big and it has to sit overnight,” Shapovalov said.
The history of sourdough’s popularity on the West Coast can be traced back to the California Gold Rush around 1850, she said.
“Sourdough got big during the Gold Rush. It was a staple because you couldn’t just go buy bread anywhere, but if you had a starter you could make it. The starters became very valuable. People used to keep it around their neck to protect and keep it warm. It was a commodity.”
Both the Gold Rush starter and another used at the bakery each have a unique origin.
“One of our starters is from San Francisco. It was [from] five brothers. They had brought it over and made more money selling bread than most of the miners digging gold,” Shapovalov said.
“We have another starter from Germany that was passed down through generations. The guy was older and when we opened our bakery in La Center he said to take it because he was getting too old to make it and wanted to continue getting the bread.”
Started with a concession trailer
The original Sadie and Josie Bakery is located in La Center, roughly 90 miles southeast in Clark County. The business began after family members worked together at a local grocery bakery in Woodland, Shapovalov said.
“Starting out, we all worked in a grocery store together. Me and my brother [Chris Martin] baked for 13 years and my sister worked in grocery,” she said, in between rounds of preparing baked goods with fellow baker Hazen Kapp.
“When they shut down, I still wanted to make cakes at my house, but at the time you couldn’t legalize your kitchen. You had to have a separate kitchen for the health department regulations. Josie said we should do a concession trailer, but then it escalated.”
Shapovalov was confident their special sourdough bread could keep people coming back.
“We knew if we did sourdough, bread people would travel for it. That was our niche. I would bake everything through the night. Then mom and Josie would package it and go sell it down at the La Center bridge every Thursday. We did that for two and a half years and then we decided to open a location in La Center.”
To Long Beach
The family purchased the building in Long Beach in April 2019, and spent the past several months refurbishing the lot and structure.
“It had been unoccupied for over 10 years, so we had to go through everything and bring it up to code and reapply for occupancy,” Shapovalov said.
Long Beach was a vacation destination for the family before becoming their second bakery location.
“We love Long Beach. We’ve been coming since before my kids were born. This has always been our vacation spot. We’ve been keeping our eye open the past couple years for some property,” she said.
The building, formerly a barbecue business, needed work but had the bones they were looking for.
“We found this one and it had a kitchen, so we thought if we’re going to go down to the beach we might as well work. We saw this place and loved it. We got excited about the possibility of having a second location,” Shapovalov said.