Lynn Bachelder is a longtime family baker and businesswoman, and this summer she used her talents on a new adventure in downtown Waldoboro with her children by her side.
In August, Bachelder opened the Perch Cafe and Bakery at 11 Friendship Road. Perch offers espresso drinks, specialty teas, filter coffee, and more, along with a rotating menu of baked goods ranging from fresh-baked bagels to gluten-free banana bread.
She is joined behind the counter by her son Eli, her daughter Madison and her 4-month-old granddaughter, Juniper.
“We are leaning towards the family angle of the family business,” Bachelder said.
Before opening the café, she had been looking for something that she and her children could do together while offering them employment on good terms.
Watching Eli hold her niece behind the counter, Bachelder said she remembered her days at her first cafe and bakery, which she opened in Ohio at the age of 25. She began teaching herself to bake after the birth of her first child, putting the baby in her stroller and walking to the library for cookbooks.
“It’s always been how I operate,” he said. “Tie a child to your back and do it.”
She started selling her baked goods at a local farmer’s market, and the confines of her home kitchen meant she ran out by nine in the morning. Another vendor partnered with her to open that cafe, and was soon joined by the first two of her five children.
“Every time I’ve taken a job, it would be in food, baking or cooking,” Bachelder said. “It’s just what I love to do.”
His father believed in the saying that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. She described him as “happy and loved” and said she has kept her motto in the back of her mind as she finds her own path in life.
The pandemic caused Bachelder to “continually reevaluate” where he wanted to position himself in the world, he said, although opening a coffee shop wasn’t his first plan when he moved to the Midcoast from Portland a year and a half ago.
In fact, when she came to see the space that is now Perch in March 2022, she came with the absolute intention of not renting it out. But, he said, gesturing around the bright murals and tables that filled the space, “I could instantly see how it is now.”
After a trip to Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop in Damariscotta, he settled on the name Perch.
“The definition is ‘stop and take in the view,’ and that really settled in my bones,” Bachelder said.
After much painting, research, training his Little Wolf espresso purveyor in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Tern drip coffee purveyor in nearby Jefferson on his Seattle, Washington custom espresso machine, Perch was ready to open.
“I couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming welcome,” Bachelder said. “It’s been really overwhelmingly lovely.”
“We put our hearts on our sleeves in terms of what we believe in,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people really appreciate our willingness to support all kinds of people.”
These days, Bachelder arrives between 4 and 5 a.m. to start baking and works around the clock to keep the counter stocked. She said that she enjoys everything about it: the early start, watching the sun rise, managing her time and feeling the satisfaction of feeding others.
“Every day you can create all these beautiful things and watch people enjoy them. It comes full circle all the time,” she said.
She develops many of her own recipes by combining existing ideas and experimenting with standards, like the buttermilk biscuits that make up her breakfast sandwiches.
“I pay myself in cookbooks,” Bachelder said as she flipped through a stack of them. “I read excessively.”
As they hone their bakery offerings, the Perch team hopes to expand into lunch, grab-and-go beer and wine, deli options, and some gourmet retail groceries. Bachelder also plans to host community events like Sunday dinners and movie nights, especially in the winter.
“We really want to become a community center,” Bachelder said.
Connecting with the neighbors has been rewarding for the family, especially developing relationships with regular customers.
The comments Bachelder said she hears the most are: “We’re so happy you’re here.”
Perch Cafe and Bakery is open 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. For more information, search for Perch on Instagram.