OAKLEY — Putting the lid on a coffee cup, Kyle Bloom headed toward the door of Sunshine Bakery & Co. in a bit of a hurry.
He was the only available employee at the moment to make the delivery, and he was going just a few doors down from the business he opened with his wife, Brandi, on Memorial Day weekend in 2015.
As he neared the door, he looked toward customers Andrea Hubert and Breanna Broeckelman, who had her 2-year-old son, Layton, as they were sitting at a window seat chatting.
“I’m going to run down to deliver this coffee,” he told the ladies as he opened the door. “If anyone comes in, just tell them … it’s free.”
His joking aside, Bloom has made it serious business when it comes to looking for ways to help his bakery grow and be more innovative in helping the customer purchase something. One way in particular has been through the bakery’s new app for a smartphone, where customers can order and pay. It has become, as Bloom puts it, “the closest we can come to a drive-thru.” The app was started a month ago.
“So far, people seem to like it,” Bloom said. “It was just something we were trying to think of a way — since we obviously can’t make it a drive-thru — is there any other avenues to make it quick for people to get in and get out? (The app) seemed to fit the bill.”
“We’ve got several ideas that we want to do,” Bloom said. “We’re working on a couple different things.”
Located in the heart of the downtown at 209 Center Ave., Bloom, who is the pastor at Gateway Fellowship church in Oakley, started the bakery after he began baking cookies and sweets to take to where his wife worked at the time, Northwest Kansas Educational Service Center. It was a hobby Bloom began to become more involved with and enjoyed doing. The Blooms bought the building, and at first, were opened in the evenings, selling ice cream and desserts. In February 2016, they opened for breakfast.
When summer arrives, they will open back up in the evenings to sell ice cream.
“It was a little sandwich shop before we bought it,” Bloom said of the building the bakery is in. “(The previous owners) had done a lot of the work (to the interior). The exposed brick was like that before we moved in. Some friends white-washed the wall. I really don’t know anything about how to do that stuff.”
With a breakfast menu at the bakery that features espresso drinks, scones, other hot drinks and food such as breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy and pastries, Sunshine Bakery has been a popular stop for locals. It also has been a hot spot for travelers going through on Interstate 70 or U.S. Highway 83. Donuts from Daylight Donuts in Colby also are delivered.
“Yep, I like it,” Chad Ostmeyer said as he had a plate of biscuits and gravy. “It’s really good.”
Ostmeyer, who lives in Oakley and has been a loyal patron of the bakery, has worked for DSNWK for 17 years. He also was hired by Bloom to come in and clean the bakery by sweeping the floors, washing dishes, taking out the trash and whatever else needs to be done.
The Blooms also own a shaved ice business they bought last summer. During the summer, they have the stand by the pool, then in front of the bakery in the evening. They have taken the shaved ice stand to fairs in Colby and Oakley.
As much as running the businesses has been about serving the community, Kyle and Brandi have been able to have their children along with them when doing the ice cream and shaved ice stands. The Blooms have three children, Elliot, 7, Bella, 5, and 3-month-old son Adler.
Both from Oakley, Kyle and Brandi moved their young family to their hometown from Kansas City four years ago when Kyle was asked to become the church pastor, replacing his father, Jamie Bloom.
One of Bloom’s favorite things in the bakery has been the coffee-making. The bakery receives the coffee from a company in Boulder, Colo. When they bought the building, Bloom purchased his espresso machine off Craig’s List and drove to Chicago to pick it up. It is the coffee and other drink-making process where Bloom said he really gets to know people.
“You get to know their orders, for the most part,” he said. “(Customers) walk in, and you start making their drink. You get to talk to people, and you get to know them a little bit. That is what’s been great about this, is that Brandi and I have gotten to know people around town that we otherwise wouldn’t have. That’s been great for us.”
As he has continued to look for ways to improve and expand the business, Bloom started a healthy lunch menu that is served 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. The bakery is open 7 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday, then from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday.
The lunches are made by a friend of the Blooms, Kait Sloan. The lunch menu consists of a few different chicken bowls, a melt, a club and an almond apple crisp salad.
On top of the innovative ways Bloom has tried to help the customer with the app, he also does a video put onto the business’ Facebook page for the bakery. Most of the videos have been done in the summer, but Bloom has found it as a strong way to get the word out about the business.
“So many people talk about them,” Bloom said of the videos.
Since moving back to Oakley, Bloom said it has been nice. Being home, reconnecting and meeting new people has been a plus. It’s been something that has made coming back so gratifying.
“The nice thing about Oakley, from my perspective, is everyone has been so supportive,” he said. “We are just grateful for the community because they’ve been willing to stick with us.”