BY BARB BERGGOETZ
While working together at Feast Bakery Cafe and Feast Market & Cellar, Kassie Jensen and Amanda Armstrong began to think they just might have the knowledge and skills to start their own place. Jensen, 38, had long envisioned opening a bakery, but she knew she didn’t want to do it alone. Armstrong, 40, had grown up cooking and baking at her mother’s side and had been an avid fan of the Food Network during the 12 years she was a stay-at-home mother.
“I had some dreams, but at first I didn’t think they would become a reality,” says Jensen, who moved to Bloomington from Lowell, Indiana, to attend Indiana University. In fact, she didn’t start out planning to become a baker. She graduated from IU in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. Later, she attended The Art Institute of Indianapolis, graduating in 2010 with a bakery and pastry certificate, and worked at the Feast restaurants for eight years as a pastry chef.
Armstrong, who has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from Marian College, moved from Indianapolis to Bloomington in 2010 and worked at the Feast locations as a lunch chef for two years.
For two summers, Jensen sold her baked goods at Smithville Farmers’ Market and in mid-July the two opened Two Sticks Bakery, 415 S. Washington St. They describe Two Sticks (as in two sticks of butter) as a “from-scratch” bakery, saying they use all-natural and local ingredients when possible in their sweet and savory baked goods, which include scones, turnovers, cookies, specialty cakes, and Danish pastries. Hand pies are popular; an early favorite is filled with zucchini, sweet potatoes, and goat cheese. Best-selling items include honey-caramelized pecan bars and cinnamon rolls. The shop also offers some gluten-free and vegan options. While most of its business is carry-out, the bakery seats 15 and has an outdoor patio.
After just a few months, Jensen and Armstrong say the decision to go into business was the right one. “I love being here and seeing what we’ve created,” Armstrong says. “It’s everything I wanted it to be.”
Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit twosticksbakery.com.