Kaitlin Muñoz has a lot to celebrate this holiday season. A little over a year ago, she moved her fledgling Proof and Gather Baking Company from a registered home kitchen in Lompoc to a larger-scale commercial kitchen in San Luis Obispo.
His stated long-term goal at the time was to open his own bakery one day.
She poured her heart and soul into her new venture, reaching customers through farmers markets, direct-to-consumer channels, and wholesale accounts, and now she’s ready to celebrate the grand opening of her first traditional bakery, with a second location to follow. continue.
The new bakery, located inside the Network Shopping Center in downtown SLO, quietly debuted on December 14, with a grand opening celebration scheduled for January 21.
Later this spring, Muñoz plans to open a second, larger bakery in the Tin City area of Paso Robles. Muñoz will share space with Central Coast Creamery, a dream partnership when it comes to pairing their freshly baked bread with artisan cheese, Muñoz said.
She attributes her rapid expansion to her love for her work and appreciation for her clients.
“I credit my success with really understanding what keeps me going, and that is being creative with recipes and then being able to share that joy with customers when they eat my products,” she said. “I think customers can tell when something is baked with a lot of love and attention to detail, which keeps them coming back for more.
“My passion for baking and seeing happy customers continues to keep my cup full even when the going gets tough. I’ve also had an amazing support network, whether it’s loyal customers, friends and family willing to lend a hand, or the community of SLO, who continues to show up and support my business.”
One such client, Carmen Mangino, of Lompoc, said she recently enlisted Munoz to create her fall-inspired wedding cake, a perfectly balanced, cardamom-spiced work of art.
Although Mangino is a family friend who has known Muñoz for decades, she selected Proof and Gather primarily because of Muñoz’s craftsmanship. And supporting a good person is the icing on the cake.
“For as long as I’ve known Kaitlin, she’s been nothing short of kind and generous,” Mangino said. “Seeing her vision of Proof and Gather come to life after years of hard work has been amazing. She used to deliver loaves of bread to my door for convenience to me. Now I will be driving to SLO to continue supporting her.”
SLO Bakery is a compact 900 square foot space that replaces Cowboy Cookie. There is limited seating inside, with ample tables by the creek for all patrons of the Network Shopping Center.
“This will be a place for people to come together for pastries with coffee in the morning, quick sandwiches for lunch, sweet treats to lift your spirits in the afternoon, and pantry items to take home to share with the family, like bread fresh, granola, crackers and more,” Muñoz said. “We also do custom orders outside of this location for parties, corporate events, catering, etc.”
All items are baked on site, as will be the case at the Paso location.
Muñoz invites guests to discover his favorite treats, but sourdough options such as garlic and apricot pecan, several varieties of cookies, and cinnamon rolls are popular with his growing customer base, including local restaurants.
“We have really unique and fun cookie flavors that people are drawn to,” he said. “Our Olive Oil, Lemon, Rosemary, Ginger, and Almond Butter Chocolate Chip are best sellers. People also love coming into the store for a filter coffee and a fresh cinnamon roll. I’ve been making this Same cinnamon roll recipe for years, and it’s definitely become a fan favorite.”
Muñoz’s high product standards are not diminished by the selection of coffee.
“We work with Shawn [Clark] at Cacti Coffee Roasters, which is a local Santa Margarita roaster,” he said. “Their attention to detail really comes through in their coffee, and their customer service is top-notch.”
For the grand opening of SLO Bakery, Muñoz will offer customers a buy-get-one special on individual cookies, with a limit of one free item.
Stay tuned for the opening of the Paso location, which will provide a much larger space.
“It’s a large warehouse that we’re converting with multiple entrances,” he said. “I’ll be occupying one side, while Central Coast Creamery will occupy the other side… [with] shared seats in the middle. There are so many opportunities there to create the ultimate Tin City customer experience with wine, cheese, bread, coffee and sweets.”
Muñoz said her future plans are to keep the two bakeries and continue to grow her business through product expansions, online ordering and more catering work for weddings and other special events.
“I’ll split my time evenly between the bakeries to make sure everything runs smoothly,” he said, “and continue to do what I love,” whipping up a storm of new and evolving delights while preserving the Proof and Gather classics.
“I’m so excited to finally live my dream of opening a bakery,” she added. Δ
Flavor writer Cherish Whyte imagines sipping cactus drops with a snickerdoodle by the creek in the new year. Contact her at [email protected]