Michigan State’s 50-year-old educational bakery has constructed an on-campus storefront at its Service Road location to offer more services to walk-in customers.
MSU Bakers has been at the 220 Service Road location, near the Surplus Store, since 2007. Its students and experienced bakers create made-from-scratch goods such as bagels, breads, cookies, doughnuts and granola served in the dining halls, Sparty’s and Sparty’s Market. The new store hours are 7 a.m to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
The bakery, in addition to providing fresh treats for the MSU community, provides a learning opportunity for its student workers, said Leah Ball, communications manager for MSU Culinary Services, which runs the shop.
“Throughout their time working with the bakery team, they have a chance to gain customer service experience, assist with research, recipe testing and product development, learn special equipment, and simple cake finishing procedures,” Ball said in an e-mail.
The bakery also has developed a new customer service team that answers questions and handles phone orders from the bakery, hiring more students and creating opportunities that had not existed before the storefront.
Ball said MSU Bakers’ unique storefront has been bringing in more customers from the greater Lansing area.
“It has been promoted regularly on Eat at State social media accounts,” Ball said. “We are looking at other ways to continue advertising the space, with a focus on those who live and work on-campus.”
Profits from the store go to the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services, Ball said.
In addition to creating jobs, MSU Bakers helps the less fortunate as well. The bakery has a partnership with MSU Food Bank. For each loaf of bread sold, the bakery donates 50 cents to the Food Bank, which provides free food and related items to students facing food insecurity.
The goal of the food bank is to cut students’ grocery lists nearly in half, according the the MSU Food Bank site.
“We are our own separate non-profit, from the university even. We rely solely on individual donations to operating,” said Nicole Edmonds, director of the MSU Food Bank. “So, when MSU Bakers and other organizations put on fundraisers, we are available to support and help even more students.”
Along with MSU Bakers, companies like Meijer and Bruegger’s Bagels also have partnered with the food bank to help students and their families.
Founded in 1993, the food bank started by serving over 4,000 clients per year before the relationship developed with the bakery. Now, Edmonds says the Food Bank has reached over 6,000 students each year for the past decade.
“It’s because of places like them [MSU Bakers] that do what they do, that allows us to even function,” Edmonds said.
MSU Bakers plans on experimenting with cakes and other items when the business has grown.
It also plans on changing its hours for special events, like home football games allowing spartan fans to grab some treats for tailgates on gameday, according to the store’s website.
The bakery offers monthly specials, customizable products, and holiday themed items seasonally.