Glenna and Mark Evans have come a long way to bake bread for you.
The couple were living in New England when they decided to embark on “encore careers” and move across the country. But it took decades of life experience to get here.
Glenna, who grew up on a farm in Southern Illinois, had studied photography at DePaul University in Chicago before embarking on a career as a hairstylist on Michigan Avenue, the heart of Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile.” (She continued to create great photos, which have been exhibited in numerous venues.) Mark, who has architecture degrees from the University of Illinois, had a 34-year career in software and product management. But while working their other careers, they started getting serious about baking, which led to baking classes, which led to a major life change.
With a spreadsheet in hand, they set out to determine which area of the country would be a good fit for them — and their new business plan — and they decided on San Luis Obispo.
In 2012, they opened Baking Bread Bakery in the restaurant of the County Government Center on Higuera Street. They have also branched out to farmers’ markets.
Breaking Bread offers a variety of muffins, including pineapple coconut, blueberry cornmeal and peanut butter chocolate chip. Artisan breads include French baguettes, six grain and cinnamon raisin. Looking for something even more different? How about a bag of apple walnut granola?
After living in Chicago and the East Coast, Glenna said during a recent farmers’ market in Arroyo Grande, she has returned to her farming roots.
“That’s what got me started with all of the cooking,” she said.
Her hometown didn’t have farmers’ markets, she said. And while Chicago did, they were limited by those chilly Midwestern winters.
“You only had from the end of May until the middle of October,” she said. “So the blessing here is that you have farmers’ markets all year round.”
Still, she’s come full circle — from baking pies in 4-H as a child in the Midwest to baking bread as an adult. But, she said, she prefers baking in SLO County.
“There’s no humidity,” she said. “And no mosquitoes.”