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Getting Started

Updated: Jun 20

By Alex and Malu Froom

Moving to Klamath Falls was an opportunity to gather up all our skills, experience and dreams and put them into action. We brought experience in organizing, agriculture and community building, and we dreamed of starting a bakery. More broadly, we dreamed of a resilient local food system, of an economy that uplifts everyone and gives artists voice and support; we dreamed of energy independence on a local level, of waste diversion and a wood shop, urban gardens and wildlife corridors… And we dreamed a lot of really good bread, croissants and coffee. (A climbing gym was not in our dreams—more on that later).

We saw all these things as related to each other and to the humble loaf of bread. Our bakery would be fully integrated into our local food system, sourcing grain from Basin farmers and milling in house. We would support market growers by consistently buying surplus or “ugly” produce to turn into value-added products (sauces, soups, jams, etc.) for the cafe. One could say we set out to start a very complicated bakery. Or, that the bakery would be a simple, wholesome expression of working lands and vibrant local culture and economy.

A bakery, however simple or complex, would need a location. We were in no particular hurry, so when a for sale sign at 7th and Oak caught our eye we took our time to contact the agent. There were plenty of other options around town. But the location was great across from the post office and the old building had some charm. We did a walk through, only to find out that the charming corner unit came with the rest of the half block—a sprawling warehouse complex that included an out-of-business climbing gym. No thanks.

Six months later we were under contract. As overwhelmed as we were by the decades of clutter, the leaking roof, the stripped gym and the sheer size of it all, the possibilities were too intriguing to pass up. The space could house so many cool things beyond the bakery. Plus, the building remodel itself would be an opportunity to put our values into action. We had a longstanding interest in living buildings and this seemed the obvious course to take.

A building retrofit of this scale, living or not, would require an architect. Our commitment to the Living Building Challenge helped narrow the options. In late 2021, we met with Kenner Kingston of Place Collaborative, walking through the building on a dreary afternoon and warming up over pizza and moonshot ideas at Rodeo’s. It was clear Kenner and his team could both dream big and attend to all the practical details. We couldn’t have found a better partner.

On paper in the early stages of design, our cavernous warehouses started feeling a lot smaller, tempering our early ambitions. We scaled back programing to the essentials (still a dynamic array of kitchen, retail and public spaces). Even then, the bread kitchen at the heart of our vision was squeezed from all sides; certain areas took many iterations to work out, with every square inch accounted for (by this measure, the public restrooms may be the crown jewel of the project).

Through the design process and community input over many months, it became clear that the climbing gym belonged and indeed was a real asset to the project and the community. We’re now personally looking forward to getting into bouldering—how far we’ve come!

Most of our focus over the past two years has been on the building. However, design prompted many decisions on kitchen layout and equipment that required forethought on menus, staffing, operating hours, etc. Thus, the bakery business is coming into focus and once construction is complete, a whole new adventure awaits… along with some really good bread, pastry and coffee.

At the end of the day, our dream is to bring people together around good local food in a beautiful space. The heavy lifts of localizing our economy, strengthening our food system, reducing waste and gaining energy independence largely come down to people feeling inspired and empowered to work together and create resilience. The ideas and desire to grow a thriving community are here, held by so many. If we can use our vision and resources to help people feel more connected, more relaxed and more empowered to dream and make change then we have done well.

Not to be underestimated is the power of a comfortable chair and a hot drink to nurture visionary ideas and neighborly connection… That’s us daydreaming about a corner cafe in a charming old building that has yet to be realized. We often remark that, for all the effort that’s gone into this, the whole project is still just a figment of our imaginations. But—it’s the figment of an ever widening pool of imaginations, which does seem to bring it a little closer to reality. Much goodness can grow from collective daydreams. Will you dream with us?

4 comentários

Stephanie Carpenter
Stephanie Carpenter
24 de abr.

I love the concept & your classy website.

Years ago Jim & I had a coffee & bakery business which I named Bean Cuisine. We had a fleet of mobile coffee carts & a location on Shasta Way.

My most popular item was scones.

On my own time I made bread using a sourdough starter with flour ground in a tabletop stone mill, Moulin A Cereales S.A.M.A.P. which I have to this day., So delicious!

Wishing you much success!


Mike Connelly
Mike Connelly
17 de abr.

Sincerely wishing you all the luck and blessings. Let us know if we can help in any way. -- Green Blade Bakery


Kip Beckwith
Kip Beckwith
08 de abr.

This is awesome!!! Love the ideas, connections and passion. As a climber moving to K. Falls this fall, the bouldering gym rebirth literally had me jumping for joy. I'll look forward to helping with what I can! Kip


Joe Pacal
Joe Pacal
21 de mar.

Beautiful vision and nice website too. I’m excited to be part of this bold endeavor!

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