MOUNT UNIACKE, N.S. — The bell rings and a customer enters, saying, “it smells really good.”
The scent of fresh treats baking in the oven frequently greets customers walking through the door of the Itty Bitty Bakery in Mount Uniacke.
Allison Brann owns the business. She says the community has rallied around her in a big way after opening the bakery less than a month ago.
It’s been difficult just keeping the shelves stocked.
“It’s way busier than I ever could have anticipated,” Brann said. “People are really excited about this, and I think it’s because we’re in a small town and people want to support local.”
Brann said she wanted to open her business in Mount Uniacke because it’s where she grew up and she knew there was a need for something like this in the community.
“The opportunity was put in front of me to either jump in head first or continue at what I was doing,” she said.
For the past two years, Brann had a secure job with an insurance company, but it wasn’t fulfilling her personal goals.
“This is something that I’ve always wanted to do. It’s not about chasing the money, it’s about chasing the dream. They always say ‘do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ and so far this has been nothing but fun,” she said.
Smiling, she confidently proclaims that the shift to owning a bakery was well worth the risk.
“You get in a routine and it can be very mundane and you lose the excitement and it becomes the same thing day-in, day-out. I found myself in a rough mental state at the end of last year. I felt like I was chasing after happiness and couldn’t find it in what I was doing.”
Everything that Brann makes is done with home kitchen appliances and equipment, and it’s meant to be that way. She wanted all of the products on offer, from biscuits to cookies and bread, to taste homemade.
“We do everything in small batches to have that feel,” she said. “There’s nothing commercial or industrial about this by any means.”
Hence the name Itty Bitty Bakery.
Brann said it’s like she’s bringing her kitchen to the people of Mount Uniacke.
The most popular item so far has been fresh loaves of bread. She makes at least 36 loaves a day, but they often sell out before the day is through.
Her products are intentionally classic – no extravagant decorations or high-end accoutrements.
And with Mount Uniacke being largely a bedroom community, Brann has altered her hours, staying open until 7 p.m., so people can swing in on their way home from work.
So far, it’s just Brann running the operation, with a bit of help from family, but if the business continues to grow, she said she may hire staff to help with the daily routine.
She said the support she’s received from the community has been overwhelming.
“The first day we opened, on a Sunday, everybody was really excited. We didn’t have a debit machine yet, but everyone was like, no worries, we’ll do cash,” she said.
“I went home and I just cried. Everyone was so incredibly supportive. I was blown away,” she continued.
“It just proves to me that I made the right decision.”