Crumb., a family bakery in Sioux City, finds an audience

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SIOUX CITY — Jake and Lexa Hawkins started cooking as a hobby during the pandemic. They then turned their hobby into a home bakery and are now looking to move the business from their home to a commercial facility.

Crumb. (the company name is stylized with a period at the end) was formed in May last year; the husband and wife duo found a strong appetite for their wares — cookies, bars and brownies, cheesecakes, layer cakes, rolls and cupcakes — at the Sioux City Farmer’s Market.

“We were lucky that most of our stuff sold out every week while we were there,” said Jake Hawkins, who works as an IT professional.

The Sioux City Farmers Market is now closed for the season, but Crumb. will continue – Hawkins said it will continue to sell directly to customers online and through social media, and through what it described as their “wholesalers” – certain cafes and restaurants that retail their products . (Crumb. is licensed, and as such, Hawkins are licensed to sell to other outlets.)

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Americans have turned in droves to baking and other traditional home crafts – that is, knitting and crocheting – during the pandemic, as a way to stave off boredom or depression, and as creative outlet.

The Hawkins found a calming experience in their kitchen.

“If I had a tough day at the office or a stressful day at work, I would come home and cook or do that sort of thing, to turn off the technical side of my brain and do something a little more creative. said Jake Hawkins.

Their first creations apparently went well: “Some friends and family members were pushing or suggesting that we start selling our products, so that’s when we considered starting the business,” a- he declared.

Both Hawkins came from families that, like many other families in the Midwest, had traditions of home baking. “Growing up, there was always someone up to something in our families,” Jake Hawkins said.

Part of the crumb. recipes were inspired by old family recipes, while others were developed, tweaked and refined by Jake and Lexa.

Consumers have clearly developed a craving for fine baked goods, of the Crumb category. sell. The similarly named but unrelated Crumbl Cookies chain, which recently opened in Sioux City, has been met with wild enthusiasm for its elaborate cookies.

“We have a pretty good following,” Jake Hawkins said. He added that people want “baked goods that feel like they were baked at home, not mass-produced desserts that they can get anywhere they go in the country.”

Running a home bakery can be a profitable way to run things, but if demand hits a certain level, bakery operations could start to take over the entire home. And in due course, if orders keep pouring in, a residential kitchen may prove unable to keep up with demand.

With that in mind, the Hawkins are planning the next move for Crumb.

“We’re looking to build a commercial kitchen downtown, just to get the bakery out of our house,” Jake Hawkins said. A lease has been signed and “on paper, things are moving forward”, he added, but “in practice, we are going very slowly”.

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