By Kathy Chouteau
Marina Bay resident and baker Evangeline McKilligan has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help get her bakery storefront off the ground in downtown Richmond.
McKilligan plans to name her business TheBakerE and is looking for a space somewhere between the BART Station and Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center.
A longtime baker, McKilligan started baking in her family’s kitchen when she was ten years old and went on to pursue her passion for baking and pastry at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. After graduation, it was off to Boston, where she owned a bakery in the city’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. She moved to Richmond in 2016 and currently operates a home-based bakery business while also working in the pizza section of The Cheese Board Collective.
Trying to launch her bakery store front in Richmond has been a much different experience from when she started a business in Boston, said McKilligan. “Here, everyone is wanting to help me. It’s just a really enjoyable process,” she said, highlighting the helpful assistance she’s received from Richmond City Hall, Richmond Main Street, CoBiz Richmond and the Renaissance Center, to name a few.
If she receives the proper funding, she aims to open her bakery in the fall of 2020 and will likely operate from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. six days a week. In terms of products, McKilligan will look to expand her current menu to serve a full line of coffee; breakfast pastries, i.e., croissants, brioche, muffins and scones; small and large pies; puff pastries; and other options like grilled cheese on brioche.
At her bakery, McKilligan also plans to serve some breakfast items like “The Sleepy Hollow,” which will be a brioche round baked with an egg in the center and gruyere cheese, chive and scallion on top. She’s also developed a special oatmeal recipe with her partner that she hopes to debut at The BakerE.
“I really have a dedication toward the community,” said McKilligan. “I really am trying to work with all local people,” as she works to get her bakery store front rolling. When it comes time, she also plans to hire locally.
So why Richmond as her bakery location? “It’s the community,” she said. “The community is just absolutely amazing and the history.”
Before living in Richmond, McKilligan said she frequently visited Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park and listened to Betty Reid Soskin speak. “She was so inspiring to me,” McKilligan said, “and it really got me to learn more about the history and the progression and the hard times and the good times and I just loved it and then ended up moving here.”
“I want to be providing service to people I know,” she added about The BakerE. “I love how progressive this place is.”
But before McKilligan’s dream of launching her bakery in Richmond can take flight, she needs funders. While she has received some early interest from community lenders, she is hoping her Kickstarter campaign will help her fully realize her goal of a store front.
As part of McKilligan’s Kickstarter campaign, “Anybody who donates $25 or above I want to sign my mixer,” she said. “I really want a piece of all of the people that have helped me to be in front of me every day to remind me of how much help I had.”