Caroline Pender featured speaker for Coffee With Cool Women

The Women’s Studies department hosted its second Coffee with Cool Women gathering this semester on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. Coffee With Cool Women is a series of “flash mentoring events” that invites women of varying professions and backgrounds to speak with SIUE students about their personal and professional experiences that have contributed to their success.

Caroline Pender

Caroline Pender

Wednesday’s Coffee With Cool Women, held in the Women’s Studies Office, featured Caroline Pender, the owner of the 222 Artisan Bakery in downtown Edwardsville. Pender, at the ripe young age of 24, has been serving as the bakery’s owner since 2011.

Pender shared her story of how she came to own the business and what her day to day experiences have been as a young business owner. The students who attended the gathering were in awe of all she has accomplished and how much work she puts in to keep the bakery running successfully.

Pender started at 222 Artisan Bakery as a part-time baker’s assistant. She said that she had gotten the job simply “on a whim” and that it had actually stopped her from leaving  her hometown of Edwardsville to Portland, Ore., where some of her extended family lives.

Being 22 at the time she was hired, Pender was in a position where she was uncertain about what she wanted to do as a career. She had considered going to college and tried different jobs, but at 222 Artisan Bakery, she found that baking was her passion.

“I love baking,” Pender said at the event, “It’s relaxing to work with the dough…being able to focus on that and ignoring all the chaos around you is my favorite thing.”

Accepting that job at 222 Artisan Bakery was just the start of Pender’s life being taken in a completely new direction. In just two years, she moved up to a full-time baker’s assistant, was sent to the San Francisco Baking Institute for formal training and was offered ownership of the business.

As the owner of the bakery, Pender finds herself working from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the bakery and then doing paperwork at home in the evenings along with her mother, who has helped her with bookkeeping since she began running the bakery.

“As an owner, you have to be there at least 60 hours week to run a successful restaurant,” Pender said. “We work longer hours, but it all pays off in the end.”

Caroline Pender with Students

Caroline Pender with Students

Pender’s dedication to the bakery not only includes long hours but an ever-mindful eye on food trends and what will draw in customers. She uses all organic and locally grown produce in her breakfast and lunch items and is always creating new recipes. She also has recently started making cakes and catering, with 222 Artisan’s Bakery’s most recent catering event serving 400 people.

With the long hours and unexpected complications that always come with business ownership, getting to this point in her success has not been easy. Pender feels that the difficulties have contributed to her success.

“Whenever I have setbacks or when something stresses me out, it just makes me strive to do better and bigger things,” she said.

Along with her own hard work and skillful management, Pender believes that the support of her family, friends, and regular customers has been essential to the bakery’s success.

“A lot of people are very supportive. The regulars have been amazing, always encouraging me and saying that I’m doing great,” Pender said. “Without that [support], I would probably crumble.”

The 222 Artisan Bakery is located at 222 North Main Street in Edwardsville. The bakery is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, serving pastries, sweets, breakfast and lunch. For more information, please visit the bakery’s website.

The Women’s Studies department will be hosting its last Coffee With Cool Women gathering for the semester on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. in the Women’s Studies Office in Peck Hall 3407. The featured speaker will be Dr. Ferries-Rowe, Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Indiana University, who will lead a discussion about reproductive ethics.

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