Hilliard resident Tracy Baldridge worked to perfect baking cookies, cupcakes and other kinds of desserts for her four children.
Now the general public has an opportunity to test those efforts at Hilliard Station Baking Co.
Tracy Baldridge, 52, and her husband, David Baldridge, 59, opened Hilliard Station Baking Co. at 4036 Main St. on March 20, about five months later than expected because of COVD-19 complications but not a moment too soon for Jackie Howard and her 4-year-old son, Paxton, who were at the door the minute the bakery opened at 11 a.m. on a recent weekday morning.
“I love anything to do with a bakery,” said Howard, who lives within a mile of the bakery and waited and wondered as she drove by each time when it would open. “As soon as we saw it was open, we came in to get a treat.”
The couple began work toward opening the store at the start of last year and said it is the product of a dream each has shared to own such a business.
The couple were married in September 2018 after an introduction by a pastor. David Baldridge, the father of five, and Tracy Baldridge, the mother of four, were single parents.
“Through God, two people who had tragedies in their lives came together to make a dream come true. God has his hand in this,” Tracy Baldridge said.
Delays in the shipping of materials and construction related to COVID-19 postponed the dream of opening the store, but the couple have realized their goal.
“It was a full-time job, getting this up and running,” said Tracy Baldridge, who left her job as a teacher at the Northside Christian School in Westerville.
David Baldridge remains employed at Nationwide Insurance but also works at the bakery and said he will join his wife full time after he retires from Nationwide.
Tracy Baldridge arrives at the bakery between 4 and 5 a.m. weekdays to begin making the day’s fresh cupcakes and cookies and, on Saturday mornings, cinnamon rolls.
About a dozen varieties are available but on a rotating basis each day, as all the varieties can’t be made from scratch every day, she said.
The bakery also features hand-made crafts from local artists and showcases some history.
While renovating the early 20th-century building, David Baldridge found a tin sign in its rafters believed to advertise the site’s early existence as a furniture store.
“This way to save more money, inquire of D.C. Larrick, for furniture, Hilliards Ohio,” the sign reads.
D.C. Larrick was a man named Denver Colorado Larrick, whom operated a furniture store, according to David Baldridge.
The sign is on display along with a tin can of shoe polish and a few other relics discovered during the renovation.
Only the original hardwood floor was maintained.
The couple installed a telephone they had purchased at an antiques store in Pennsylvania. It was from 1934 and used at a railroad station, a nod to Hilliard’s railroad history.
The inspiration to open Hilliard Station Baking Co. stems from a Waco, Texas, bakery called Magnolia the couple had visited.
“That kind of motivated me to create something a little like Magnolia here in Hilliard,” she said.
The bakery also sells scented candles, holiday ornaments and other hand-made crafts, most with a specific Hilliard theme and illustrations of the city’s landmarks. They include hand towels made by Claire Kester, one of Baldridge’s former students, an eighth-grade student at Northside Christian School.
Another business nearby, Coffee Connections, 4004 Main St., provides coffee, “a special blend that pairs with cinnamon rolls and cupcakes,” Tracy Baldridge said.
Hilliard Station Baking Co. is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays. It’s closed Sundays and Mondays.
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