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12/19/2013 8:47:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 

Photo by Sebastian Moraga
Mackenzi, left, and Kandace Brunner, at Pybus Market selling their family’s artisan bread. Brunner Bread sales help Mackenzi pay for tuition at Eastern Washington University.
Cashmere grad pays for tuition with bread sales at Pybus Market

Sebastian Moraga
Staff writer

Students sometimes go to college with the hope of someday making some good bread. Mackenzi Brunner is making bread to get through college.

Brunner, a Cashmere graduate and a sophomore at Eastern Washington University, travels from Cheney almost every weekend to bake and sell bread at Wenatchee's Pybus Market.

The gig has become a cottage industry, with Mackenzi recruiting Mom, Dad and sister Kandace to help out. The business is about two months old.

"It's been a great learning opportunity for me to locate the required permits licenses and a commercial kitchen to run her business and communicate with many business leaders in our area," Mackenzi's mom Janine wrote in an email.

Janine makes the dough, and Mackenzi bakes the bread. This entails driving from Cheney on Fridays, then getting up around 2 or 3 a.m. Saturday to have it all ready for Pybus.

"She has always been very self-motivated, even in high school," Janine said of Mackenzi. The family bakes about 60 loafs each weekend. The family had to rent a commercial space to bake the bread."

Dad makes his appearance around 4:30 a.m., Mackenzi said, and helps get dishes ready and helps with cleanup. Then the gang loads up the car -nicknamed the Breadmobile-and heads home for a quick pit stop before traveling to Wenatchee.

The family rents a booth for the day and sets up shop and sells the bread, sometimes until noon, sometimes until the early hours of the afternoon, depending on customer traffic.

"We just do Saturday," she said. "I usually have homework and have to drive up to Cheney on Sunday." Two weeks ago, it was finals' week at EWU, so Mackenzi stayed on campus and Kandace helped at the market.

"It gives us an opportunity to do something together," Janine said. "A lot of times when they go off to college, children do their own thing, but this gets us all involved together, even though she's over there."

The booth's schedule will likely expand during the summer, when EWU students go on vacation.

Mackenzi said Janine has been baking bread for years, but this is the first time the family turned the hobby into a business. Mackenzi said it was her idea.

"We will see where it goes, but my intentions were to avoid graduating with any loans," said Mackenzi, a nursing major at EWU. "Who knows where it will be years from now."

Asked how much bread she needs to sell to pay for school, Mackenzi hesitated and laughed. "Secret," she said. Bread comes in flavors including pumpkin, carrot spice, and sundried tomato and basil. The carrot spice and olive feta flavors have been the best-sellers so far, Janine said.

The business has received many requests for gluten-free bread, so they are looking for a recipe that's gluten-free but also meets their standards.

"We are learning as we go," said Mackenzi, who worked at a retail shop when younger and said dealing with customers is neither new nor difficult.

Although her friends think she's a few slices short of a full loaf for driving home and back every weekend, she said she relishes spending time with her family. And besides, the doubters are easily swayed.

"From Cheney it's a three-hour drive here and a three-hour drive back, so they are like 'Oh, whoa! Oh, man!'" she said. "But then they try the bread and they are like, "Oh, can I get some of that?"

Sebastian Moraga can be reached at 782-3781 or reporter@cashmerevalleyrecord.com.



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