Baked goods made with love
Stepping through the front door of Dana and Terry Ramsey's Wilsonville home, guests are greeted with the savory scent of baking bread accented with a sweet note of freshly whipped cinnamon roll frosting.
Tucked into the Ramsey's remodeled, baking-friendly kitchen, the couple are the proud owners and operators of the "micro bakery" Rêver Artisan Bakery.
Rêver, meaning "to dream" in French, has been serving made-to-order artisan breads and baked treats since August. But the dynamic duo hasn't always been in the food industry.
Currently an employee of Mentor Graphics, Terry has been in the IT industry for 30 years. But he picked up a love of baking from his mother.
"We'd experiment, bake and play in the kitchen," Terry says. "It was always a good time."
Terry's foray into baking for more than friends and family came in 2013 when his friend, chef Perry P. Perkins, invited him to be a part of the nonprofit Simply Smart Dinner Plans.
"I was a consultant, developing recipes and menus," Terry says. "It's a free service that supports a nonprofit where several chefs will go and work with kids to teach them how to cook — we really focused a lot on the foster care system since those kids aren't getting a lot of exposure to cooking."
As that business developed, Terry started taking individual baking contracts with eateries — such as making all the bread for the Beer Station — while making extra and selling it to friends. It was then that Terry's dream of creating a bakery started to take shape.
But it wasn't until Dana, who worked at the senior living facility The Springs Wilsonville as a caretaker, injured her back and could no longer lift clients that the couple was inspired to teamed up and grow the baking business.
"When she hit the business, it just exploded," Terry says.
From doing customer interface on social media and delivering orders throughout Wilsonville to more administrative tasks like doing the books, Dana makes sure the business portion of Rêver runs smoothly.
The naming and branding of the bakery was also a family affair.
"When I was first thinking about starting a bakery I thought, 'Well, it's a little dream,' but I didn't like that (for a name), so I thought, 'What if it's French?'" Terry says.
From there, the couple kicked around a few ideas before arriving at the name Rêver Artisan Bakery.
"It came down to it and I said, 'What about rêver?'" he says. "It has 'r's and we have 'r's because we're Ramsey and it's a palindrome; and I love playing with words and letter, which is kind of an inside joke we have with our kids."
After only three months, the bakery has developed a steady stream of repeat clients who love the bakery's use of hyperlocal and organic ingredients, including Edison wheat. Bred in Washington to thrive in the Northwest's climate, Edison wheat has a sweet and buttery quality with a soft golden color.
"We've had a lot of great feedback — even suggested changes to recipes, which I was glad to make," Terry says. "Our Challa, we got feedback of, 'Oh, it's great, but it's not as puffy as I'm used to. Can you make if puffier?' And so I made it puffier."
Although the Ramseys are enjoying their initial success, they are already looking to the future, which they hope includes converting their garage into a commissary kitchen. Currently licensed as a residential kitchen under the Department of Agriculture, Rêver would need to switch to a Department of Health license.
"We could even rent the space out to people who want to try their hand at starting a business, because a lot of people can't do a residential kitchen because they have animals in the house," Terry says.
After her own experience, Dana says that she would encourage anyone in the community with a beloved hobby to try and turn it into a home business — whether it be making cupcakes or tamales.
Further down the line, Terry says that the dream is opening a storefront somewhere while still taking contracts with as many local eateries as possible, which will be the backbone of the business. But the couple doesn't want to lose the personal connection that they currently enjoy with their clientele.
"I like that personal interaction and meeting them at the door, coming to their home and being able to say, 'Here are your warm cinnamon rolls,'" Dana says.
"Wilsonville is a great place," Terry says. "We love it here."
Find out more about Rêver Artisan Bakery by going to go reverartisanbakery.com