• Last modified 837 days ago (March 6, 2019)


Sisters use home recipes in Florence bakery

Each week we’ll be featuring a Marion County business in our Business Bio section. Learn about products, services and people here in your own county.

Staff writer

As young business owners from outside the county, Katie and Kami Claassen of Flint Hills Market and Bakery in Florence start their days as early as 4 a.m.

While not from the area, the sisters have quickly established roots with residents of the town.

“We know people a lot better now and we have people who come in a few times a week,” Katie said. “The activity has definitely picked up since last year.”

When the Claassens started, their menu was mainly sandwiches and recipes they learned from home, including specialty breads and pies.

The broader Claassen family’s impact goes beyond providing recipes. Their presence was felt in a more literal way over the summer, when six members of the family came in from their home 25 miles away, to help during Labor Day.

For Luke Wessel, an employee at Harshman Construction’s Florence quarry, stopping in a few times every week is about the atmosphere as well as the food.

“It has good homemade food that’s always fresh,” he said. “It has good company and nice hometown folks to talk to.”

While Wessel enjoys several of the menu items, the Cedar Point resident’s favorites are chili, and pies.

The bakery saw an increase in pie sales around Thanksgiving, but for Wessel, it’s a year-round indulgence.

“I like the pies best because they are homemade and you can always tell when it’s a homemade pie,” he said. “It’s pretty much all the time, not just Thanksgiving.”

Despite their experience with baking and food prep, determining how much to make on a daily basis is difficult, Kami said.

“We never really know how much food to prepare because we don’t know how busy we’re going to be,” she said.

Neither Claassen had business experience when they made the decision to buy the bakery, but they learned quickly.

“We didn’t know what to expect going into this or how it was going to turn out,” Katie said. “It was a big challenge just starting it up and learning new things.”

Even as new business owners, the sisters wasted little time making the space their own.

In the first nine months from when they started in May 2017, the restaurant had a space for groceries, which they replaced a year ago with an event area.

The added space multiplies available seating several times over, and it has been used for catering on several occasions, including three parties in December, and another three so far in 2019.

“In December it was definitely busy,” Katie said. “January and February were slower, but that’s to be expected after the New Year.”

Last modified March 6, 2019