Opening of new main street bakery celebrated in Cobden

·3 min read

Cobden -- It is said that necessity is the mother of invention.

Necessity was the motivation that led to the opening of the newest retail outlet in Cobden: Sour Jo’s Bakery. The opening of a storefront outlet for the business at 59 Main Street was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday.

Sour Jo’s features a variety of breads and baking, all made with sourdough. Business owner Joanne Swartz Anderson discovered sourdough five years ago when her own health issues compelled her to look for a bread her body could tolerate.

“The benefits of this bread and all products made with this natural yeast were immediately apparent and I was hooked,” Ms. Swartz Anderson said. “There were many experiments, some very successful, some not so much, but always with good lessons learned. After some encouragement from family and friends who sampled what I baked, I decided to pursue a home-based business. The reaction I received from this community and the Valley was overwhelming and I was thrilled to receive such positive feedback. I soon realized I could turn this small business into an enjoyable full time career.”

When she attended the Cobden Farmers’ Market’s Christmas Market as a vendor, her products “took off like wildfire,” she said.

“The feedback indicated that I should open a store,” she said. “This spot became available in April of this year.”

At 53 and after many years working in the corporate world, this venture allows her to finally pursue a lifelong dream to operate a business where she can share the food she creates, she noted.

While some details remain to be worked out, her goal is to be open Tuesday to Sunday, closed Mondays. Initially the open hours will be 5:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, Friday 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We are still short-staffed, but we will do our very best to stay open for the hours listed and provide a good variety of products to choose from,” she said. “If any adjustments are necessary, news will be posted on the Sour Jo’s Facebook page.”

Whitewater Region Mayor Mike Moore cut the ribbon to open the store at 10 a.m. on Friday and by 11:15 a.m. the shelves were bare and Ms. Swartz Anderson was looking forward to a busy night to create products for the following day’s opening.

As a home-based business, Sour Jo’s has been selling products at outlets throughout the Upper Ottawa Valley, including Death By Chocolate on Cobden’s Main Street, Hugli’s Blueberry Ranch near Pembroke, Burnt Bridge Quality Meats in Petawawa, and Blend-It in Renfrew. She plans to continue to supply those outlets.

“They are the ones that put me on the map, so I’m not going to pull out now,” she said.

She added she is still shocked at how quickly everything grew.

“I look forward to continuing to offer delicious and nutritious sourdough baking to this community and to continue to develop great relationships along the way,” she added. “Thank you Cobden, for such a warm reception.”

Marie Zettler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader