Noe Valley Bakery in San Francisco recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise $19,000 for remodeling.

“Noe Valley Bakery is a quintessential neighborhood bakery making small-batch and handmade baked goods in San Francisco. As we approach our 20th anniversary in 2015, we wish to update the look and feel of our bakery to match the artisanal craft of our baked goods,” the company posted on its Kickstarter page.

The bakery aims to complete the remodel before its anniversary on February 18, 2015. To complete its facelift, the retail shop plans to build a custom cabinet to showcase cookies.  “Why? Because we went to Paris last summer and saw how incredible the cookies look displayed on marble counters and we want to bring that experience home to our neighbors. This will cost about $10,000,” the bakery’s owners Michael and Mary Gassen explained.   

“Secondly, we are updating our website to showcase fresh new content like photos of our artisan goods, plus product and recipe videos. We also have created a beautiful new logo. We want customers to get the same feel and impression online as they would when they walk through our front door. This virtual remodel will cost between $7,000 to $10,000.”

In 1995, as a husband and wife team, Michael and Mary Gassen set out to recapture a rarity: the neighborhood bakery, where everything was made on premises. At the time, a whole generation of customers were purchasing machine-made and not-so-fresh baked goods from supermarkets and coffee shops, the owners said. Michael Gassen was a trained baker, while Mary Gassen worked as a managing partner for a restaurant company.

Upon leaving college in 1984, Michael joined his first large-scale bakery, La Seine, where he learned how to produce large, consistent quantities of virtually every type of baked good. During this time, he discovered his true vocation as a bread baker and went to Acme Bread Company in Berkeley to further his knowledge and experience. From Acme, he was recruited by Il Fornaio America to open their Orange County wholesale bakery facility in Irvine in 1992. This assignment provided experience in designing a bakery from the blueprints up, managing staffing and setting up the facility procedures and processes that would serve him well in future positions.

It was here also, where he met his future wife, Mary Gaylord, who was working for Il Fornaio as a managing partner in the retail division. Upon meeting his commitment to Il Fornaio, Michael and Mary eagerly returned to the Bay Area. Taking a position as bakery manager at Palio D'Asti in San Francisco, Michael had the opportunity to put his knowledge to the test in a small bakery concept. It was here that he also began making what would become his signature specialty breads.

In 1995, Michael and Mary decided to take the plunge and open their own neighborhood bakery in Noe Valley of San Francisco. It is here that they realized their passion for revitalizing the neighborhood, artisanal bakery. The Noe Valley Bakery & Bread Company is a full-line bakery serving hand-made breads—with a specialty in fruit breads— pastries, cakes, and cookies.

Michael is an active member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America, Food Runners, and has instructed at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

“We were fortunate to set up shop in the charming little community called Noe Valley. From noon on that first day we opened, all our baked goods were sold out. Almost 20 years later, we still delight many of those same customers and have watched the littlest and most loyal customers become adults. Customers anxiously wait each morning for that hot, fragrant, fresh loaf of bread, handmade muffins, croissants, cookies, or a custom-made, decorated cake.”

“Because Noe Valley is very sophisticated and inventive when it comes to their parties, we have expanded our offerings of cake designs for special occasions."

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