New bakery opens doors for women

Open Doors Bakery offers a variety of cookies and cupcakes. Courtesy photo.

A new bakery that provides women with an opportunity for meaningful work has opened its doors. The Dégagé Ministries social enterprise business formerly known as Pauls’ Moms’ Cookies, officially opened May 22 at located at 144 Division Avenue S. with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Dégagé Ministries Executive Director Thelma Ensink. Courtesy photo.

“By operating out of its own retail space and baking in its own kitchen, Open Door Bakery is better suited to grow and elevate its offerings,” said Dégagé Ministries Executive director Thelma Ensink.

The 1,000-square-foot Open Door Bakery is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., offering individual and packaged gourmet cookies and cupcakes. The baked goods are prepared by women who are, or have been, patrons of Dégagé Ministries’ Open Door Women’s Center.  All of the proceeds will go to benefit Open Door, which provides workforce development opportunities and sleeping accommodations for up to 100 women at its Open Door Women’s Center.

The Open Door Bakery is just one door south of Dégagé’s other social enterprise retail operation, thrift store Thrift on Division, “Thrift on Div” which sells new and gently used clothing and artworks by Heartside artisans.

“We hope that having two retail locations on Division Avenue demonstrates our commitment to building and enhancing relationships with our community, while also helping more people experiencing homelessness work toward a more sustainable future,” Ensink said.

Open Door Bakery, 144 Division Ave. S. Courtesy photo.

The event celebrated the completion of the organization’s  $7.5-million effort to expand its property along Cherry Street between Division Avenue and Sheldon Boulevard in downtown Grand Rapids.

“Grand Rapids is well known for having engaged and supportive residents, so I was not surprised that so many joined us in the effort to help build a better future for our neighbors in need,” said Chuck Burpee, Dégagé board chairperson and longtime attorney with Warner Norcross.

Ensink said the program fits perfectly within Dégagé’s mission. “We feel God’s presence in the Open Door Bakery each day. Not only do sale proceeds go to support Dégagé, the store and kitchen also employs women who were or are staying in the Center. Through this program, we see God transforming the lives of those it touches.”

Rockford Construction served as the general contractor for the project, with Century A&E providing architectural oversight for Dégagé’s expansion. Macatawa Bank provided financing and The Barton Group served as construction consultant.


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