Nothing beats a warm pastry and a flavorful coffee on a busy morning or a tasty sandwich for a midday pick-me-up. Whatever your taste buds desire, the Village Baking Company has you covered with various treats.
The coffee shop and bakery strives to ensure that every customer who enters not only leaves with a satisfied stomach but an overall better mood. Village Baking Co. focuses on family and building personal relationships with customers.
The bakery began in 2004 when owner Clint Cooper saw a need for good bread in Texas. He had found a love for baking and decided to go to the San Francisco Baking Institute to learn about making French artisan bread and pastries.
Clint discovered techniques from small village bakeries in France, mastering the Old World Style bread, and brought his knowledge home to the Lone Star state, where the Village Baking Company was born.
In an email to The Dallas Express, Kim Cooper, Clint’s wife, said her husband’s mother and grandmother were always in the kitchen as he was growing up.
Clint is a born and raised Texan, but he and his wife believe he gets his French baking talents from his grandmother Lois Thorne, who grew up in Louisiana and was of French descent. Thorne was baking 7-layer cakes with a glass of champagne well into her 90s.
Kim and Clint’s children have also been raised in the kitchen and are taught to value a beautiful meal around the family table. Baking bread, riding in the bakery trucks, and working in the bakery have been a part of their childhood, and they do not know any different, says Kim.
“Who knows, maybe one of them will end up being a baker like their daddy!” she added. “They definitely know good bread from bad!”
The Dallas Express spoke with Village Baking Co.’s director of customer experience, Kevin Adendorff, about the restaurant business and why it is a joy to be a part of the industry.
Adendorff had never worked in the restaurant industry before, but after his son, one of the investors in the baking company, moved to the United States, the South African native wanted to be closer to his grandchildren.
Once Adendorff had been introduced to the business, he found he loved the energy, products, and people. He started with Village Baking when an opportunity in the safe quality food program arose at the company’s headquarters before eventually making his way over to the retail side.
Adendorff rotates between the company’s four locations as support and ensures that the displays’ standards and product quality are up to par. He is also in charge of bringing attention to the coffee shop’s events through social media.
One of the Village Baking Company’s stores, nestled on Oak Lawn Avenue, is a dainty shop with elegant designs. Customers come in to sit for hours because of the warm and cozy atmosphere.
“We’re based on family values and interpersonal relationships,” said Adendorff. “When I hire staffers, I say to them, ‘We have 300 to 400 people who come through this door every day. If we don’t wake up in the morning coming to work with the intention of making a difference in everybody’s lives, then this is not the job for you.'”
Adendorff says Village Baking Co. wants to positively impact its customers through authentic, French baked goods and personalized relationships. Being genuine and friendly to customers is at the core of what they do.
“We know our customers and their dogs. We want people to leave feeling enriched by human interaction,” said the businessman.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the bakery continued to thrive and became a safe space for customers to meet up and forget about the troubles of the outside world.
“We were very fortunate that we were allowed to stay open during COVID. We had so many customers during that time who came to us and said, ‘You know what, this is the highlight of my day.'”
Throughout the pandemic, Village Baking’s customer service never wavered, even as the company experienced staff shortages. Still, Adendorff stressed the importance of taking care of his employees so that customers are not affected in the long run.
“I have people who are so committed, and I have to make sure they do not burn out,” he said. “This is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to pace yourself. If the staff are tired and overworked, I do not have the quality service, and that is our primary focus.”
Adendorff insists that customer service and the quality of that service are the two things that set Village Baking Co. apart from everyone else.
“We have to be that special,” he said.
Those who would like to see what this cozy coffee shop has to offer can visit any of the four Village Baking Company locations at 3218 Oak Lawn Avenue, 1921 Greenville Ave, 4924 Woodall Street, or 4539 Travis Street.