Photo by Dani Wilson
Michael and Mary Jenniches show specialty “swans” at First Stop Bake Shop, 611 E. Airline Drive in Rosewood Heights. The bakery opened Jan. 31 and features pastry items and desserts as well as fresh bread.
ROSEWOOD HEIGHTS — There’s a new place to stop for sweets, treats and freshly made bakery items in the East Alton area. First Stop Bake Shop opened at 611 E. Airline Drive on Jan. 31.
Chef Michael Jenniches and his wife, Mary, say they “couldn’t be happier” with their new business and the community’s response. First Stop Bake Shop features pastry items and desserts as well as fresh bread and even homemade croutons.
“Eventually we’d like to do confections, also,” Michael says.
Michael grew up in Alton and went to culinary school in New York City; Mary grew up in South St. Louis. After graduating, Michael got into the hotel industry with his first pastry job in St. Louis.
“That’s where I met Mary,” he says. “I sort of worked my way up from there.”
He worked jobs in private dining, country clubs and more.
“I’ve been all over St. Louis,” he says.
In the end, the urging of friends and family prompted Michael and Mary to open their own bakery.
“Everyone had asked us over the years,” Michael says. “It was just time.”
Since opening, Michael says the response has been outstanding.
“The community seems to enjoy it, and if they’re happy, we’re happy,” Michael says.
For Michael, the most challenging part of opening his own business was structural; setting up equipment, checking legal codes and making sure everything works properly in its place. “And the weather and snow!” Mary adds. But the couple says overall they enjoy taking on the challenge.
“We’re learning as we go,” Mary says.
The shop is accepting requests for specialty items and pastries. Although they ask customers to give 48 hours notice in preparing these items, Michael says he looks forward to trying new things.
“We’re trying to figure out what people like and be accommodating,” Mary says.
“We’re a true mom-and-pop operation all the way,” Michael says, explaining how he and Mary work together to run the shop. Michael outlines his typical week, which includes 14-hour days that often begin around 3 a.m.
“We do everything from scratch,” Michael says. “Our thing has always been quality.”
He says First Stop Bake Shop does not run with a set menu, but instead tries to include a nice assortment of bakery items with varying flavors.
“You want to make everyone happy,” he says. “In this industry, you can’t please everyone.”
The shop already has regulars who frequently request their favorite items, Mary says. Her favorite part of day-to-day operations is seeing customers’ enthusiasm about their desserts.
“They’re so excited we’re here,” she says.
Michael’s favorite is finally having something for the Jenniches to call their own. He largely credits his success and determination to follow his dreams to his family.
“I wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for their unconditional love,” he says. “It’s amazing how instrumental that can be.”
The Jenniches encourage the community to stop by the shop.
“We’re here for them, to make wonderful desserts,” Michael says. “We’ve only scratched the surface.”
The bakery’s hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday.
For more information or to request specialty items, contact First Stop Bake Shop at firstname.lastname@example.org or (618) 251-8024.