Biz Buzz: Gluten-free bakery opens in Idaho Falls
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Do you want to know what’s happening in the eastern Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered. Here is a rundown of this week’s business news across the valley.
Late baker’s closest associates launch bakery in his memory
IDAHO FALLS – Randy Jensen, the beloved baker who owned Baker’s Dozen in Idaho Falls for many years, spent a lifetime serving his homemade treats to customers.
More than a year after his passing, some of his closest associates are carrying on his legacy with the launch of a bakery in his memory.
The Guardian Bake Shop opened in Idaho Falls on June 22 inside Teton Village at 2095 East 17th Street. His former wife, Jillian Metzger, co-owns the business with her daughters, Samantha and Alysa Matheson, and her husband, Darrel Metzger. Jillian’s son, Dustin, who works at the Costco bakery, is also involved.
The bakery is dedicated exclusively to gluten-free desserts and serves customers five days a week between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Despite some initial uncertainty about the operating hours, Jillian tells EastIdahoNews.com the response from the community has been great.
“Customers who come in really like (the hours). They love having the option of being able to stop by after work, but also come in a little earlier in the mornings,” Jillian says.
The menu includes a variety of doughnuts, cookies and cake — some of which are also sugar-free, dairy-free and egg-free. The sour cream old-fashioned doughnut is the bakery’s most requested item, Jillian says.
Chili cheese cornbread, a leftover piece from a restaurant Darrel once owned in Swan Valley called The Wagonmaster, is also available.
The decision to focus singly on gluten-free items was motivated by Jillian’s sensitivity to gluten, which often made her sick or led to adverse reactions.
“I wound up … having rashes (sometimes) … to the point that it was severe enough I (wanted to avoid it at all costs),” she says. “I started baking and cooking differently, and that was happening at the same time as our life at Baker’s Dozen.”
She’s refined her recipes over the years, and after Jensen’s untimely passing, she saw an opportunity to open her own shop.
Jillian and her daughters spent many years working alongside Jensen, and they’ve inherited his love of baking. His rolling pin hangs on the wall above the counter where fresh-baked doughnuts are displayed.
“We intend to do a mural (of him) there on that wall,” Jillian explains.
The business’s name and gnome logo is also a loving tribute to Jensen. Samantha says that Jensen worked long hours and would become grumpy at times. In those moments, she lovingly referred to him as a “grumpy old gnome.”
Jillian started crying when she explained that “The Guardian” has a double meaning that implies Jensen’s spirit is the guardian of her bakery. At the same time, it’s an expression of her desire for the business to be a guardian for people’s health because Jensen’s death was health-related.
She is planning an official grand opening for the bakery. A date has not been determined.
She’d also like to start selling bread, rolls and cinnamon rolls in her store. Jillian is hoping to offer a seating area for customers in the future as well.
“We had some customers come in the other day that asked if there is any place to sit down. The atmosphere is just something you want to enjoy, and I’d imagine we’d do the same thing wherever we go,” says Jillian.
Jillian says seeing customers visit the bakery has made this venture “fun” and “endearing,” and she’s looking forward to constantly improving her products as time goes by.
The Guardian Bake Shop is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
LDS Church buys property in Rigby
RIGBY – A 73-acre parcel of land across from Rigby High School was recently purchased by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Andrew and Jorelle McClellan with Silvercreek Realty Group bought Farmington Station, which surrounds Dansie Dental on ID Highway 48 in Rigby, in January 2021. They were originally planning to turn it into a mixed-use development with residential housing on the back 10 acres and commercial space occupying the rest of it.
The project never moved forward, but public records obtained from Jefferson County indicate the church bought it. It’s unclear what it plans to do with it. Larry Fisher, a church representative for the Pocatello area, tells EastIdahoNews.com Latter-day Saint leaders don’t typically discuss these details with the public.