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Central Coast bakeries get creative during pandemic to stay busy

Posted at 10:10 AM, Dec 23, 2020

The pandemic has put a strain on many businesses on the Central Coast, forcing many to get creative and adapt to changes in customers and sales.

Longtime baker Sheila McCann has been keeping to her craft during quarantine, creating Christmas breads and goodies at her shop, House of Bread in San Luis Obispo.

Since COVID-19 though, it's changed how she is keeping busy.

McCann stopped her in-store baking classes this year but has turned to a new platform to share her passion.

“The best way really to learn to bake bread is to have someone show you," McCann said.

Bringing baking online, she began a YouTube channel and podcast to keep those cooped up at home busy this holiday.

“I’m glad to see during the pandemic we’re having a resurgence in home baking," McCann said.

People staying at home isn't a problem seen by all Central Coast bakeries.

Joliene Bakery in San Luis Obispo says each day is different as they don't know how many people will visit the shop.

“I think the challenge is just mitigating people at the counter and trying not to get too crowded," Joliene Bakery owner Thomas Fertel said.

Fertel says even during the pandemic, they'll often sell out of customer favorites.

House of Bread has also seen changes in buying trends in recent months.

McCann says they've seen fewer customers, but those coming in are buying more than usual and they anticipate an uptick in customers closer to Christmas.

As the bakery industry relies mainly on to-go orders and not indoor seating, neither shop has been significantly impacted by the recent shutdown orders.

Joliene Bakery says turning to online sales is a possibility, but the shop is hoping to operate in-store as much as possible.

Both bakeries say they're grateful they've been able to stay open.