By Alex Gladu, Independent We Stand
Like many small business owners, Jacquelyn Waggoner is a mom-turned-entrepreneur. While trying to prepare fresh, healthy meals for her family and fill a meaningful role in the community, Waggoner felt inspired to launch a business out of her kitchen, in Douglas City, California. The result is what she calls a “small and humble bakery,” and she has far outgrown her crowded kitchen after four years in business.
Waggoner’s bakery is called U-Rok, named after her local northern California culture. She’s part of the Yurok tribe, the largest Native American group in the state. That culture has influenced her business and her desire to give back to the community by providing fresh, healthy nourishment.
“I am proud of my heritage and want to show that pride through my food,” Waggoner says. “I started this business as something that I was already doing for my family, however over time, it changed, and I started to see how even fresh bread could make a positive change in our community.”
Waggoner has grown her business by selling her products at local farmers markets – and by baking more bread than her home kitchen can accommodate. She’ll soon open a commercial – grade kitchen in her garage, where she’ll be able to bake more bread and reach more local shelves. The commercial kitchen has been a goal of Waggoner’s for some time, but it’s now being brought to life thanks to her strong ties to the community. She ran a Kickstarter campaign, and though it was unsuccessful, her outreach inspired her friends and neighbors to provide electrical work, plumbing services, duct work and financing for the project.
“Having a commercial kitchen all to myself is new and exciting,” Waggoner says. “I’m looking forward to making my products, seeing how others like them and having the freedom to change my recipes to suit my community’s wants and needs.”
When the commercial kitchen opens in May, Waggoner will blend her standard bread options, made with organic, locally sourced ingredients, with some unique offerings. For instance, she’ll also be selling Kefir sodas, which are fruit-based and pro-biotic. “The flavors are going to change with the season, since the syrups I make for them require fresh, local fruit,” she explains.
Waggoner has several local stores that are already interested in her products, even months before the commercial kitchen opens. Beyond the kitchen, she also hopes to open a food truck eventually. For now, though, Waggoner is staying true to her culture and her role as a mother by baking fresh bread for the community using healthy and sustainable practices.
To learn more about U-Rok and get updates on their opening, “like” them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/U-Rok-947786805278870
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering for a business membership. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local to join the movement.