How to Create a Bakery that Thrives for Over Three Decades:
- (2) heaping tablespoons passion for delicious things to eat
- (1) cup (packed) love of family
- ¾ cup loyal, talented baking team
- (8) fluid ounces craving for culinary creativity
- (1) Danish town with a tradition for baking
- Equal parts tradition and innovation
Meet Founder Susan:
Over 30 years ago, Susan Halme branched out from her busy life as a full-time mom in the Santa Ynez Valley and entered the baking business in the Danish town of Solvang, California. The sheep, horses, and walnut orchard would have to do with a little less attention. With her four children enrolled in school, Susan was ready for a new challenge. Together with her husband Paul, Susan bought an existing bakery in Solvang and The Solvang Bakery was born.
Armed with recipes for her father’s pies and her Finnish mother-in-law’s cardamon bread, along with conventional Danish specialties like almond butter rings (seven sisters coffee cake), cinnamon crisps, and assorted Danish pastries, Susan soon found her creative juices flowing. She began adding exquisite wedding cakes, ornate gingerbread houses, and hand-iced cookies to the bakery’s repertoire.
Meet Sweet Melissa:
Melissa Halme Redell, Susan’s second of four children, became Susan’s partner in 1998 after leaving her career as an English teacher in San Francisco’s Bay Area. Like all of her siblings, Melissa grew up around the bakery and worked there from the age of 12. As a teenager, she wasn’t too keen on wearing the traditional Danish dress instead of bell-bottoms and t-shirts, but the occasional free pastry or cookie seemed to stave off too much ridicule from her pals. Melissa contributes her sales and marketing expertise, inimitable style, and preternatural cheerfulness to the team. Oh, and she no longer wears the Danish dress…
Meet The Honorable Maili:
Maili Halme Brocke is The Solvang Bakery’s official ambassador. As an executive chef and caterer specializing in celebrity events, Maili has partnered with her family for myriad events and can often be heard saying, “I know just the bakery to provide that item.” With her ear to the ground, she helps keep everybody current as to the ever-changing needs and desires of our customers.