A different sort of (West End) soul food

I remember peering through the glass of the storefront when the new owners were refinishing the hardwood floors, bringing 757 Haywood Road back to life. I’d moved to the West Asheville neighborhood three years before, and this was a welcome sign in that strip of clearly fatigued but still-handsome brick buildings along the old business corridor. And sure enough, when the West End Bakery opened its doors six years ago today, March 21, something wonderful emerged from the cracking of that springtime egg.

The bakery, shaped by the hands of co-owners Cathy Cleary and Krista Stearns, has grown into not just a successful business, but it has provided a heart for our community — much to my personal contentment, and much to the pleasure of the greater neighborhood. It’s the gathering spot. It’s where you pick up the morning gossip. It’s where you schedule the backroom for committee meetings. It’s where the co-op potlucks take place. It’s where the politicians drop by if they’re keeping their feet on common ground. It is — shall we say — the yeast in the reemergence of the now-popular West Asheville. (And I haven’t even mentioned the caffeine — free today, by the way — or the cinnamon rolls!)

So happy birthday, West End Bakery!

— Nelda Holder, news and opinion editor


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