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Founder Feature: Blair Fornshell of Brown Bear Bakery

Meet Blair Fornshell.

Founder & Baker at Brown Bear Bakery.

"Cincinnati is a great place to start a business because we have so much support...The support from the community as a whole keeps us here."

Brown Bear Bakery specializes in thoughtfully created pastries and desserts featuring a variety of sweet and savory options made with local ingredients and guided by the seasons.


Q: What makes Cincinnati a great place to start a business?

A: Cincinnati is a great place to start a business because we have so much support. Support from our fellow small business owners and the community as a whole. We get to see familiar faces day to day and have the ability to reach out to other owners when we need a little help. The support from the community as a whole keeps us here.

Q: How did a grant from Main Street Ventures impact you and your business?

A: The Main Street Ventures Grant will impact us greatly in moving forward with our growth. We will be putting the grant funds towards expanding and creating more space to grow and work as a team.

Q: What does a typical day in your life look like?

A: Honestly, each day looks different. When the shop first opened I ran the morning bake every day of our operation and after about three years I started training others to run the bakes, thus allowing myself the mornings. This helps to build the overall strength of our team and gives my bakers the opportunity to shine. This also grants me time to develop recipes, further engage with the team, create a healthy and supportive work environment, and focus on our growth- plus next steps. Each day is unique and I really enjoy that.

Q: What is a recent book, podcast, or news story that you found interesting?

A: I recently picked up “Edible Flowers, How, Why, and When We Eat Flowers” by Monica Nelson. The book itself is breathtaking to look at and is filled with pages upon pages of beautiful flowers. I cook with a lot of edible flowers and am planning my spring beds to be filled with them this year. This book has me even more excited for the warm weather and all that comes with it in dreaming up, planning, and creating a menu.

Q: What is a lesson you've learned that has shaped your work?

A: I have learned to slow down, take my time, and be patient. I apply this to every area of my work – physically creating pastries, planning menus, building a team, and growing the shop organically. I don’t rush things – with time comes the good stuff.

Q: What's next for Brown Bear Bakery?

A: We are looking forward to expanding our space, our menu, and our services! We are currently working on getting the whole team laminating dough, which will be huge as we grow. We are really looking forward to 2022!


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