Wild Crumb Bakery
by Angie Ripple
Mix the ingredients of creative and dynamic twin sisters and magical Montana and you get Wild Crumb Bakery, Bozeman’s Choice Bakery for four years running.
Caroline Schweitzer and Lauren Heemstra have created a light, bright, warm ambiance filled with piles of expertly baked goods featuring local flavors and the most amazing smells, all served by high energy team members. The twins and I grabbed a seat at their neighboring restaurant, Fink’s Deli, to talk about all things butter, yeast, cinnamon, sugar, and huckleberries.
Angie Ripple: How was Wild Crumb conceptualized?
Lauren Heemstra: We always wanted to open up our own bakery, and working for so many different places in Big Sky and Bozeman, we tried it out at the Farmers’ Market just to try it out and see how it was received, and it was busy and they loved it.
Caroline Schweitzer: Right, and we wanted it to be a space where people could gather. We have good memories of growing up and going to places that were special, and kind of magical, and we wanted to make a space where when you walk in it’s like, “whoa;” it’s like a kid in a candy store.
LH: We also wanted it to be warm. Montana has so much snow; with the yellow walls, it’s just comforting and lots of piles of food, it’s inviting.
CS: It’s inviting and magical for kids hopefully, and adults too!
AR: It was pretty magical walking in this morning. I think you’re doing it right! So, tell me a little about yourselves; you mentioned growing up in magical spaces.
CS: We grew up in Redding, California, Northern California, and we both went to school in San Francisco for a while. We both went to the University of San Francisco for a bit, and then parted ways. We went to hospitality management school for a little bit, and then she went to culinary school after that, and I went to the Academy of Art University, and we both focused on our artsy things for a while there. Lauren graduated and found a job here, and I kind of ended up following her here. We both fell in love with Montana after visiting our older sister in Big Sky. This is a magical place and it drew us in. That was twelve years ago.
LH: In 2005, we moved to Big Sky, and in 2010 we moved to Bozeman together.
CS: In 2010, The Rainbow Ranch burned down. We both had worked there for a while. That gave us the motivation to move on. In 2012, we did the Gallatin Valley Farmers Market, and in 2013 we opened the Wild Crumb doors.
AR: What makes Wild Crumb unique in Bozeman? What do you offer that other places don’t?
CS: Fresh made everything! Everything is fresh every day; we don’t do day-olds. Our croissants for instance, we have a very good variety that other places don’t have. I think Lauren offers some more sophisticated items that other places don’t have.
LH: And our breads, you can’t get crusty breads really anywhere else but On The Rise in town.
CS: If you can’t tell Lauren is the pastry manager, the pastry part of it, and I’m the bread part of it.
LH: Just the feeling, the service. Our front of the house is amazing.
CS: Yes, the front of house gives off a lot of positive energy for going through that many people a day, and customer service is pretty important to us.
LH: We try to maintain a happy crew, so that is hopefully perceived by the public. We treat our staff well.
AR: What do you want people to experience when they walk through your doors?
CS: I think we just want to see the jaw drop. We want them to walk in and be like “whoa!” There are some people who say they want one of everything, and we just want everyone to be like that.
LH: Ya, excitement, we’re looking for excitement.
AR: What is your most popular item?
CS: The scones for pastry; we can just keep pumping them out. Tourists and locals both love our huckleberry scones. We always have huckleberry on hand.
LH: The ham and cheese croissant and then the baguette. My favorite is the Miche.
CS: The savory stuff does really well. Both of our favorites is probably the Miche. It’s that big spelt and whole wheat, rye, three-pound loaf that’s just so good. The crumb is beautiful.
LH: It’s delicious.
AR: Do you want to touch on how the idea for Fink’s Deli (adjacent to Wild Crumb) came about as well?
CS: Well, our sandwiches got really popular, and it just kind of got out of control. There was a demand for lunch and sandwiches and so we moved that to Fink’s, so we could focus on our bread and pastries.
LH: And pair some stuff, like a Charcuterie and those type of things to go with our products as well.
CS: We have awesome hot sandwiches and cold sandwiches. Rebecca is our Cheesemonger; she does an awesome job of carrying all of the cheeses.
AR: What do you enjoy most about being part of the Bozeman community?
CS: We love how supportive our community can be. If you are willing to ask for it, there are multitudes of places to get great advice and support. We received lots of great advice starting up, now that I think of it, from all (or mostly) women. The Prospera Network, our local bank loan officer, our CPA, Gallatin Valley Farmers Market, our landlord, (who helped us get into our space when we were having trouble with city regulation), and also from other small business owners, Josh and Shannon at Blackbird. It was a bumpy start for us, but with the help of our community, we’re here!
Also, (of course!) our great trail system and access to the outdoors. As hikers/bikers/dog owners, we appreciate all the organizations keeping this available as well as expanding them! Shout out to GVLT!
AR: Do you have anything coming up that you would like the readers to know about?
LH: We always do a special menu for Mother’s Day, so people can keep an eye out for that. Fink’s will be serving dinner beginning this summer with salads and soups and deli-style food, brats and lox plates. We are trying to take advantage of what grows here and do it deli style!
I’ll have to assume you’ve enjoyed Wild Crumb Bakery for yourself, but if not bring your appetite and reusable bag when you visit so you can stock up on the amazing selection they’ve baked for you!