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How Anne Andrus, owner of Honey & Rye Bakehouse, silenced her inner critic and followed her dream

March 3, 2017

Ever thought about quitting your desk job and opening a bakery? Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? Anne Andrus took that risk, left her job and completely flipped her career upside down. But it all happened kind of by accident.

 

A wide-eyed college grad, Anne packed her bags and headed west, to California, full of enthusiasm that she would change the world. With a double major in International Business and Spanish, she jumped head-first into her seemingly perfect career: a nonprofit with a far-reaching mission. Yep, she was on her way.

 

But, after a few years, she found herself sitting at a desk, responding to emails, and feeling unfulfilled and restless. She took a leap of faith and swapped her well-paying job with one at a nearby bakery.

 

“I figured this would fill my time until I found a new job,” Anne says. But, the Teacake Bakeshop ended up being more than a temporary fix. It began to feel like home. Woman-owned and managed, she felt empowered and excited. 

 

“The owner took a chance on me. I walked into that bakery with just basic knowledge and skills,” she says. “They taught me everything I needed to know.”

 

It turns out, Anne learned a lot more than just how to bake really good bread and make a mean latte. She learned more about herself too.

 

“I loved being on my feet, being active,” she says. “I didn’t realize that I was missing that from my life.”

 

She decided that this - baking - would be her next career. But first, she had to quiet the inner voice inside her head. You know the one, right? The one that causes you to second guess what your gut is telling you. In Anne’s case, it went something like this: You got a four-year degree and you’re going to make muffins?!

 

Yes, she thought. I’m going to make muffins. And bread. And scones.

 

So with grit and determination, she set her sights high and applied to one of the best baking schools in the country: San Francisco Baking Institute. And she got in. Take that, inner critic.

 

An intense five-month commitment, she quit her job at the Teacake Bakeshop. And that’s when another dream wormed its way into her heart: opening her own bakery. 

 

“I loved every second at the Institute,” says Anne. “Somewhere during that time, I started to think about opening my own place.”

 

After graduating, she moved back to Minnesota - temporarily to her parents’ house near Brainerd - while she searched for a job as a bread baker.

 

“It’s hard to find a bread-baking job with zero experience,” she laughs. 

 

But, like always, she persevered and found a pastry chef position at Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis. This would be her launching pad. She took notes, scribbled out her dreams and found a business partner.

 

Together, they started walking down the path of business owners and entrepreneurs. 

 

That path led them to a lackluster building in St. Louis Park that, for 30 years, housed a dry cleaners. 

 

Anne’s business partner Emily, a graphic designer itching for a change of pace, could see the beauty in the old building. Anne could see something else.

 

“I liked the shape of the building. I liked the neighborhood. But what I really loved was the retro sign out front,” Anne says. “I could picture our name on that sign.”

 

Up against a few national chains, the landlord took at chance on Anne and Emily,

two 30-year-old first-time business owners. Honey and Rye Bakehouse was born.  

 

 

“We didn’t realize what a risk this was,” she says. “We just kept putting one foot in front of the other.”

 

Opening day was a Tuesday. They didn’t publicize or advertise. They just flipped over the ‘open’ sign and unlocked the doors. By that weekend, there was a line out the door. 

 

Anne hasn’t looked back. 

 

“I love that we’ve become an intimate part of our customers’ day,” she says. “I know that John gets his morning coffee on his way to work. I know that Susan likes the banana bread. We’re here for them.”

 

More about Anne…

 

What inspires you?

Nostalgia. I like anything Midwestern, all things rustic, old photos, antique dishes, old cookbooks, my mom’s recipes. 

 

Right now, I can’t get enough of ______________.

Bruce (her two-year-old son). I’m obsessed with him.  

 

What is your most treasured possession?

My cookbook from school, Advanced Bread and Pastries.

 

What is on your playlist?

Prince.

 

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Jeni Britton Bauer. She started a little ice cream shop, Jeni’s Ice Creams. She seems so cool. I’d love to pick her brain about work-life balance. 

 

What are your top 3 things/places in the Twin Cities?

1. Como Conservatory

2. Sun Street Breads

3. Burch Steak

 

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Be flexible. 

 

 

 

 

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