Sisters to cook up legacy with new Greencastle bakery

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Lena Weaver and Leah Risser are remodeling the former Columbia Gas office on North Carlisle Street for The Baker’s Nook, scheduled to open later this year.

Two sisters have gone into business together. Lena Weaver, 25, and Leah Risser, 23, will open The Baker's Nook at 111 N. Carlisle St. once renovations to the building are completed.

They both love baking, and it is probably hereditary. Their grandmother, though a homemaker, also operated a bakery business which included selling fares to a snack shop at Eastern Mennonite College. Then their mother put her baking knowledge to good use, so the girls grew up surrounded by enticing aromas and delicious goods. They also developed their own skills while getting a homeschool education.

Weaver and Risser both attended Eastern Mennonite University and pondered their future.

Weaver earned a degree in music. "I knew I didn't want to perform professionally. I've always loved cooking and baking, and liked the idea of owning a bakery. It sounded like a lot of fun."

Her sibling graduated with a degree in liberal arts/music. They started talking about banding together in the profession and told their parents, Phil and Pam Risser.

"As a dairy farmer, Dad is his own boss. He encouraged us to be the same and give this a try," said Risser.

Weaver explained another rationale. "If we don't do it now, it's too easy not to do it."

Both gained practical experience at Pure and Simple Cafe, with the owners aware that they planned to establish their own business.

They will offer cookies, brownies, cupcakes, sticky buns, breakfast muffins, artisan breads, pies and soft pretzels. For the time being, there will not be donuts due to a shortage of manpower and a deep fryer. They will also set up a coffee bar, selling fair trade coffee and tea. There will be a seating area, plus another section with free wifi.

Weaver will handle finances and Risser will bake. "I've been accumulating recipes for quite some time," she said.

The name of the business came from Weaver's husband Adam. He noticed that the space had several nooks, and the co-owners liked the cozy ambiance it indicated.

Weaver and Risser acknowledge that there are several other places in Greencastle where people can buy baked goods. They think each caters to a specific market.

"Wolf's Bakery did well here, and we knew people missed it," they said. "Hopefully we are different enough from the other stores."

The hours of operation will be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Both understand those are long hours.

"I have no doubt the first three years will warp me," laughed Risser.

The store is in the middle of remodeling, and they hope to be open in November, but it could take a little longer.

"We hope for sure by the holidays."