25  Sep

Smallknot Profiles: Silver Moon Bakery

Smallknot loves local business, and every week we’re profiling the people and places that make our neighborhood special.  Want to get covered in a Smallknot profile, or know someone who should be? Shoot us a message here.

This week, Smallknot visited with Judith Norell, the owner of Silver Moon Bakery.  Silver Moon Bakery is located at 2740 Broadway, and is known for having the best breads, pastries, and coffee in the neighborhood.  I stop in at least once a day!

How long has Silver Moon Bakery been open?

We opened in November of 2000, so we’ve been open for 12 years on November 8th.  

How did you come up with the name?

Well, I’m a meditator, and I really wanted to call it Silent Moon, and I was told by my husband that nobody would understand what I was talking about.

Oh, what’s the concept of “silent moon”?

There is a poem, saying, “The Buddha is like the silent moon, seeing all, illuminating everything.”  I love the idea of moons – it’s calm, and it’s beautiful.  So, after trying several variations, we came up with Silver Moon Bakery.

Do you have a baking background?

Yes, I’ve baked all my life, and I did go to the French Culinary Institute, which now has another name.  I think it’s called the International Culinary Institute.  I did that when I felt that nobody was hiring me because I didn’t have any credentials.  And I baked in Paris also for a while. 

What do you find to be the most challenging part of the business?

I would say the most challenging part is human relations and money.  Trying to make sure that everyone who works for us gets a decent salary.  In this particular economy, it’s very difficult to juggle because prices are going up regularly, and yet we cannot really raise our prices.  The economy’s no good, and we don’t want our customers to suffer.  So, we’re really struggling; it’s a balancing act.

What’s your favorite thing about running your own business?

I love baking.  I love baking bread. 

Do you have a favorite bread that you sell in the store? 

Well, our baguettes are probably our most popular, but then after that, I would say our sourdoughs.  I don’t know if you’ve looked at our breads or our website, but we do a lot of different kinds of bread, and I keep coming up with new kinds of bread because I love to experiment.

Do you have any advice for other small business owners?

Well, in my own personal experience – I had a background in non-profits before I started this – in order to sustain yourself, you have to do what you love, and not start something just to make money.  You may as well go into finance or banking to make money if that’s what you care about.  You have to be prepared for long hours and a lot of anxiety, and being able to multi-task.

I also saw where you also have baking classes.  

Well, they’re baking demos.  They’re demonstrations.  Because I am very passionate about bread, it really forms a lovely bond between me and the people who come, because they’re all people who love doing what I’m doing.  I can critique them, or become a mentor in a certain way. 

Is there anything else readers should know about Silver Moon?

They should watch our website, and get on our mailing list because we’re always coming up with new products.  And we love celebrating holidays!  We search out holidays, so we can make special things for them.  For example, the Jewish holidays are happening now, so I found a 15th century Italian bread that was brought over from Spain by the Jews, fleeing the Inquisition, which we are now making.  It’s called “il bollo.”  It’s absolutely wonderful, and it has a wonderful history also. 

Next week on the 29th starts the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.  So, we are making moon cakes with a French twist but with all the beautiful designs of the Chinese.  We have a lot of holidays that we celebrate.  

Thank you, Judith!

(And special thanks to our Ambassador Christine Thompson!)