Mona Foley, owner and operator of Crusty Crumbz on Seaview LLC, knows a thing or three about baking, operating a home-based business, working alongside family and, above all, making customers happy.
Prior to opening Crusty Crumbz six years ago, Mona owned and operated Foley’s Pizza in East Bremerton. “I opened it with my son as my manager until he had to go for a job with benefits, but he still came and helped whenever he could. I made homemade sauce and dough using my son’s recipes and homemade hoagie rolls, two soups every day and then all the things I bake today.”
After nine years at Foley’s, Mona left but her love of baking was as strong as ever. “I knew that I wanted to continue baking after I left Foley’s. I loved being busy and pleasing customers. I knew I could do this in my home. We turned two rooms in our basement into a commercial kitchen.”
She continued, “I found it easy to start my home bakery. I had almost all the big equipment and then acquired the other things I needed.” How did her family respond? “My family’s reaction was good. They knew that I love what I do and were very supportive.”
Operating a home-based bakery in the state of Washington has its unique challenges. Mona explains, “I have a commercial kitchen that the Department of Agriculture classifies as a Food Processing Plant. I have submitted literally hundreds of recipes I have used or will be using and new ones as they come up.”
What advice would she give to aspiring artisans who dream of starting a bakery in their homes? “I would tell people to do your homework on opening a home-based bakery. There are zoning laws, permits, insurance and everything else you need to run it smoothly.”
Besides the legal issues involved with operating a bakery here in Washington, there were other things Mona discovered on the way to turning Crusty Crumbz into a delicious success. “I’ve learned a lot running my own business. I learned how to get up early (5 am) to get started for baking day. I make up a menu of what I’m going to bake that week. Sometimes it changes if I can’t get certain produce, or the freshness isn’t what I want. I then shop for the best available ingredients to get ready for the week ahead.”
Mona makes a wide selection of homemade baked goods, including cakes, cupcakes, breads, cookies, brownies, scones, pies, cobblers, bars, and other mouth-watering goodies.
Family continues to play a huge role at Crusty Crumbz. “Because of my disabilities, my husband Joe helps me with every market,” Mona says. “I love that he’s there with me the whole way. My daughter and son-in-law also help from time to time.”
As far as retirement, Mona says, “I guess I’m retired but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Because I take online orders and sell at another local farmers market, I get very busy down in the bakery.”
After all these years in the food business, what keeps Mona going? “I love what I do, I enjoy working with the farmers market and I love the positive feedback I get from customers.” What could be sweeter? Thank you Stephanie Ray with Precision Sharpening for volunteering to write up our vendor spotlights!