Chu-Hsiang Chang and Kimberly Scott at the Meridian Township Farmers’ Market on Jan. 17 before opening the storefront/ Photo Credit: Two Ring Photography (used with permission)
Two Williamston locals open up In Kind Bakery in Downtown Williamston amid the pandemic to support the community through donations and baked goods.
Despite regulations, In Kind has had a successful first month.
Co-owner Kimberly Scott said that in February, the In Kind Bakery collected $328.09 from sales and donated 146 baked goods to the Williamston Food Bank.
What started as a casual hobby for Scott, ended up as a blossoming business between two friends. Their story began over 10 years ago at a dinner party with the family of co-owner Chu-Hsiang Chang, who also goes by Daisy.
Scott said of their story, “She (Daisy) couldn’t come due to some conflict, but [her husband] had a little container of leftover gnocchi, and she had it the next day, and said ‘I need to be friends with these people.’”
Meridian Township Farmers’ Market and its businesses platform
Since then, they have been baking out of their homes and selling treats such as croissants, cinnamon rolls, and cakes at the Meridian Township Farmers’ Market. Although the market has seen a lot of changes with the ongoing pandemic, it has still been able to stay in business.
“The setup changed, the layout changed, the location changed and obviously the personal protective equipment and all of that was a big change,” said Farmers’ Market Manager, Tom Cary. “But we ended up having a very successful market and something like 60,000 people came through the market from spring through the end of October.”
The Farmers’ Market has been a place for new businesses to try out products, ideas and business ventures. The market works closely with all different types of businesses to help them in whatever they need- expansion, trial periods or just to have something on the side.
Cary said, “Our hope is that the market can be a platform for the kind of entrepreneurship that can really help a business grow and get stable and expand and become more permanent.”
In Kind’s mission and purpose
In Kind bakery was an example of a business that used the market’s platform to expand to a storefront and professional kitchen. The name of the bakery, In Kind, comes from their love of giving back but is also inspired by their names. The K and the D in “Kind” represent their first initials. The full name, In Kind, comes from the idea of an in-kind donation, which is their main goal.
“We’re getting food to the food bank, we’re not accepting tips, we’re donating all the tips, and we really just love to bake,” said Scott, on how In Kind is giving back.
In Kind Bakery storefront located at 146 W. Grand River Ave. in Downtown Williamston / Photo Credit: Payton Shaffer
Although businesses all over the country have been struggling with the constantly changing COVID-19 regulations, Scott and Chang have had Williamston locals’, as well as the city’s, support throughout their opening. Without the initial intention of a storefront, they have since found a storefront and opened their doors on Feb. 6, 2021.
Downtown Williamston development through COVID-19
City Manager and Director of the Downtown Development Authority, Corey Schmidt, said “Just recently, the state of Michigan had a Small Business Survival Grant and [Williamston] had several businesses in town that took advantage of that process.”
The City of Williamston, specifically the DDA, has been working endlessly to help existing businesses thrive and new businesses blossom. Beyond the grants they are offering, they are assisting in connecting business owners to resources within the state or nationally. Although, with restrictions still in place it makes it difficult to maintain a profiting business.
“Here in the city of Williamston, we have not issued any local regulations for the control of the pandemic,” Schmidt said, although they are following state orders. “Any business in the state, there are certain restrictions right now on gathering sizes and the capacity requirements.”
The future of In Kind Bakery
In the future, the owners of In Kind Bakery hope to work alongside other food producers from the surrounding areas and open up their commercial kitchen to those producers. Already they have obtained partnerships with Sandy Ridge Farms, Lily House, Park Lake Creamery, Backwoods Coffee and several other local producers. The store location and hours can be found on their website.
“I’m hoping when COVID is over, we can open up for indoor seating and to offer making more things for our customers,” Scott said about the future of In Kind beyond the pandemic. “But right now, we’re just happy to be here.”
For current Michigan COVID-19 statistics, visit https://www.mistartmap.info/?area=county%3Aingham
For more information on In KinD bakery or current updates, visit their social media pages here: