Yesterday we accidentally had cookies for lunch. Sure we had plans to have a “light lunch,” but when you stop into one of your favorite bakeries around lunch time, those good-intentioned plans for a salad go by the wayside. A quiche appetizer. A croissant to get started. Followed by a brownie wrapped in a chocolate chip cookie … and likely the start to 3+ cavities later, we left in a cloud of sugar-induced bliss. Absolute bliss, I tell you.
We spent nearly an hour with Jenni and Brandi, the owners of The Almond Sisters Bakery in downtown Hamilton, OH. (…by the way, if you’ve never spent an hour in a bakery – we would like to strongly recommend it. Breathing in warm sugar for 60 minutes is good for the soul.) Two sisters who share a passion for pastries and, more importantly, family. In fact, that’s where The Almond Sisters got their start.
When their go-to coffee shop discontinued their beloved almond twist pastries, they decided to start making their own. This lead to a booth at the Hamilton Farmers Market to raise extra money for their families. They sold a variety of handmade items, breastfeeding covers, cloth diapers, Jenni’s husbands spice rub….and pastries. After a while, they realized their baked goods were becoming their best seller and thought, “this could be something.”
“Something” turned into a quaint and quirky little bakery about 2 years ago and has quickly become a staple in the renovation project of downtown Hamilton. Located in a historic building that was once a lawyer’s office, a banquet hall and finally, Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant, The Almond Sisters Bakery is now housed in what was part of the façade removal celebration in Hamilton several years ago. The stark green façade being removed to reveal the original building’s true beauty.
As we sat with Jenni and Brandi, several regulars came in, and were greeted by first name. “Miss Denise,” a local artist who has developed a relationship with Jenni and Brandi and their family, sat in the corner sipping her coffee for the majority of our visit. Another frequent visitor came in with the promise of bringing a small gift for Jenni’s boys next week. It’s quite evident that they sincerely care for their customers and that building a sense of community is very important to them.
While they are passionate about what they do, putting in more than 80 hours a week, their advice for hopeful entrepreneurs is that “it’s not about the money. It’s doing what you love and always put your family first.”
Their family first approach has led them to make a few changes to their business hours in the coming weeks. They will now be closed on Sunday AND Monday beginning after Labor Day weekend, but fear not friends, you can still dive into one of their pastry pillows Tuesday-Friday (8am – 6pm) and Saturdays (9am – 2pm).
You may be wondering “What is their secret to sugary success?” While you won’t find any recipes here, their goodies are truly a labor of love. “Everything is made by hand. Our almond twist, our best seller, has more than 324 folds. The pastry pillow has 81 folds. All folded by hand. Our husbands’ business, Unsung Salvage, made all of our light fixtures, shelving and our display case.”
For our pumpkin-everything lovers … they’re unleashing all of their pumpkin treats on September 1st. You can bet we will be first in line for a pumpkin pastry pillow (say that 9 times fast.) … and pumpkin muffin … and thumbprint cookies … and a birthday cake geode….and….