Sisters continue local traditions with new bakery

Published 11:00 am Thursday, April 13, 2017

For owners and sisters Susan Mitmesser and Ann Stenzel, the Banery, located at 220 Frontier Way, is the culmination of a lifelong dream they have shared.

“We had an Easy-Bake oven when we were little,” Stenzel said. “We always talked about opening a coffee shop and a bakery.”

The sisters got their chance when their husbands, Scott Mitmesser and Jay Stenzel, began developing a new apartment complex on Frontier Way. The four decided to convert one section of the development which was planned as a storage space, to instead house a bakery.

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The business name is a play on the sisters’ maiden name, Bane.

The bakery and coffee shop has been open since Tuesday, and the sisters said so far business has been good.

“Yesterday was a whirlwind,” Stenzel said. “People have been waiting patiently for us to open, and as soon as we posted it on Facebook, it was like the floodgates opened.”

The Banery serves a wide variety of family recipes, including their father’s homemade ice cream, a transparent pudding and recipes from their aunts.

In addition, they have put their own spin on some of the favorite recipes in the community from longtime baker Thom Schoolmaster.

Mitmesser said she met Schoolmaster 20 years ago after moving to Winchester.

“Being a cake fanatic I ordered some cakes from him,” she said.

Over the years, the two developed a friendship, and after Schoolmaster’s retirement, he taught Mitmesser and Stenzel some of his recipes that are now used at the Banery, including his famous “bruffins” which are dense, brownie-like muffins that come in peanut butter and chocolate flavors.

Schoolmaster still helps them with some of the baking as needed, along with a number of other volunteers who have helped get The Banery up and running.

The sisters said as the summer approaches, they hope to begin opening some evenings in order to serve people desserts after dinner time.

In addition to an interior sitting area, The Banery has an outdoor patio where people can enjoy their treats, and the whole space can seat about 30 people.

In the future, Mitmesser and Stenzel said they would like to host meetings, prayer groups and other gatherings, and they want The Banery to become a family-friendly place where people can spend time relaxing.