Samantha Kindred and Kaleigh Jones worked at a coffee shop in Mesilla and found they had something powerful in common – a love of baking.
Both women also had a fondness for sourdough. The thought occurred to them there was no good source for sourdough products in Las Cruces, and they were off. The Kind Baking Company was born. Both had run businesses before, and both had experience working in the food-service industry.
“We got our approvals two weeks before COVID,” Jones said. “So, we built the business around COVID, because we had to. It is what it is – we were learning as we went.”
The business was started by renting a kitchen in a local restaurant during off hours.
“We were working overnight,” Jones said. “In the very early stages, we had our day jobs and worked eight to 12 hours at night getting bread out for the wholesale customers.”
By the end of June, they “moved into our big beautiful spot” at 201 S Solano Drive, Suite G, and were able to open by the end of July.
Jones said going forward, one of the biggest lessons they have picked up is about managing the customer experience. It’s a skill they can take forward into non-COVID times.
“We only allow one or two people in at a time,” she said. “People get more one-on-one time. This has slowed us down, and people get more attention.”
In fact, their original plan was to be a predominantly wholesale business, but many restaurants are not open, so they are not buying artisan bread. Retail was not part of the original plan at all. But now the women have many regular customers and a booming storefront and say they are not likely to shut that down even when the coronavirus recedes.
“It’s going pretty well,” Kindred said. “[The storefront] is definitely the main income for the business and the complete opposite of what we thought it would be.”
They do sell to some restaurants but not nearly enough to keep the business going. Diners will find Kind Bread products at places like FARMesilla, Elephant Ranch, Josephina’s Old Gate, the Bean, Urban Café and Hangerz Food Truck.
All the products at Kind Bakery are made with sourdough.
“It’s better for you,” Jones said. “It’s made with flour, water, salt and sourdough starter, which is flour and water that’s been fermented. We feed [the starters] every day like pets.”
She said the bread is better for people because the process breaks down gluten. Many of their customers are gluten-intolerant and can eat the sourdough even though they can’t eat other kinds of bread.
Ingredients are locally sourced whenever possible, Kindred said. They use New Mexico flour, local honey and cheese from Tucumcari.
They have set up a “community corner” in the bakery where they can offer products of other community businesses, as well.
“The mushrooms, candles, earrings and mugs are part of community corner,” Jones said. “We’re fortunate that we can have our business and others can’t, so we have dedicated that corner to others without stores.”
Kindred and Jones said the baking is one of their favorite parts of the process.
“That’s when you get to see all your hard work and see if it worked,” Kindred said. “Sourdough is very temperamental. When you see all those loaves coming out of the oven, you know you did it right.”
For Jones, the best part is having the freedom to come up with new ideas.
“It’s one of our favorite things – developing new flavors, new types of bread, learning about the history of it,” she said.
The women also have created their own spice blends, which are available for sale at the store.
Breads available include the traditional sourdough loaf, a rye sandwich loaf and various other creations like demi baguettes, green chile cheddar sourdough, holiday stuffing loaf, chocolate cherry sourdough loaf, parmesan and black pepper sourdough loaf, among others.
Other products include the top seller, chocolate chip cookies, as well as sourdough pop-tarts, a variety of bagels, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls and croissants – both plain and with various fillings.
For the holidays, there are various kits available, as well. These include a sourdough stuffing kit, holiday pop tarts and a holiday cookie collection.
“Business has been good,” Jones said. “We’re really thankful.”
“We are very grateful, with all the craziness in the world, to be doing well,” Kindred added.
Visit www.kindbreadco.com or call 575-993-1560. Walk-in hours are Tuesday and Friday 1 p.m.-6 p.m.