Trolley Stop Bakery makes deep tracks in the StL baking community
A year ago, what was once The Baker’s Hub in Chesterfield, MO became Trolley Stop Bakery, a co-op bakery. This means that Trolley Stop Bakery provides a commercial kitchen and a place for bakers who do not have their own storefront — either by choice or inaccessibility — to sell their goods. Some of the other eateries housed in Trolley Stop include Trolley Track Cookie Company, The Tipsy Goat, Delectable Dough, and Swirly Girly Bakes.
The owner, Diane Wood, didn’t set out to own a bakery. She stumbled into it alongside her daughter, a WashU Law school graduate. Wood explains that her daughter “couldn’t get a job. It was right in the crash of ‘11…She was getting married so she asked if I could make cookies for her wedding.” It was only after baking 600 cookies for her daughter’s wedding and hearing resoundingly positive feedback from guests that Wood “knew [they] were on to something.” But after her daughter decided to pursue her passions at WashU’s med school, Diane returned to her career in IT. When the time came, Diane retired.
“It was really nice to retire for a few years. But not having that something to do every day when you get up and look forward to what you’ve got…people to manage and things to do. I really missed that,” Wood said. A mere three years after retirement, Wood decided to start Trolley Track Cookie Company again.
The name Trolley Track comes from Wood’s children’s friends. Wood always wanted her house to be the place where all of her childrens’ friends come to gather. The way to make this happen: always have a supply of freshly baked cookies. “One day the kids were looking at the bottom of the cookies,” said Wood, and she asked what they were doing. “They said, ‘Well, the ones with the deepest tracks are the ones that are the gooiest.’ I noticed that I wasn’t letting them cool long enough before I was taking them off and putting them on the rack and they were sinking in.” Thus, the name was born.
At first, Trolley Track Cookie Company just operated out of Wood’s house. Based on insurance and other restrictions, Wood was very limited with what she could do at this point in time. As more and more requests flooded in, Wood realized she needed to open up a commercial bakery.
Enter: Trolley Stop Bakery.
When starting a bakery, similar to when Wood started her IT company, she “set herself up not to fail.” In other words, she wrote a plan and gave lots of thought to all aspects of the business: the customer experience, packaging, and any other detail that might otherwise get brushed to the side.
“I followed that business plan exactly how I wrote it. And I knew that it was hard work and I knew that if it didn’t work out, it was only [because] I didn’t implement something that I wrote down,” Wood said.
In the future, Wood hopes to open up another Trolley Stop storefront to provide more opportunities for other bakers and those currently working from their home.
“There are people who have great ideas where they don’t have the money or they don’t wanna go out and get a bakery,” Wood said. “You know, I’m not able to provide a bakery with these products…But then you get eight people, they have great recipes, and they have the time they can come in and make their speciality.”
Trolley Stop Bakery is located at 67 Forum Shopping Center in Chesterfield, Missouri — about an 18-minute drive from campus.