By Nash Gates and Millie Gordon
Incorporated in 1847, downtown Hendersonville is full of historic buildings and businesses. Among these is McFarlan Bake Shop, situated on North Main Street between Tribal Trends and Clinical Massage WNC. Having originally been opened in 1930 by Earl McFarlan, the business was purchased by Michael Cole’s father and was kept in the Cole family until December of 2022, when it was sold to its current owners, Clint and Meghan Dewitt.
The couple met and worked at the Kanuga Conference Center before the pandemic, but the camp went on hiatus as the virus spread. Meghan Dewitt said, ”The nonprofit world was stressful before the pandemic, but it forced everyone to take on more work.” The prior owner of McFarlan, Mike, had a mixing position open and Clint, having worked in the culinary industry in high school and college, took it in the wake of his Kanuga position. He held this position for four months before he started doing product ordering and the accounting and, while the Coles were on vacation, briefly running the business before he and Mike started joking about him being able to run the place. “We’re both educators, we had no intention of running a business. It just went from there and we started wondering ‘Do we really want to do this? Do we have the skills to run a business?’” Dewitt said. “There was never a strong intention to buy a business one day, but when life happens you just follow the waves.”
The two have enjoyed running the business and the associated staff development, as well as creating a positive work environment for people. They also enjoy getting to know people and usher their employees into further careers. Meghan said, “I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re letting us down, and that’s kind of our attitude about everything.”
Making food is a passion of the couple, who believe that, “When you feed people you become part of their experience in life. When we provide cakes for people to celebrate things like weddings and baby showers or pastries for small friend celebrations, we get to be a part of their lives in a really special way”
There were issues that were unexpected by the two, such as the global supply chain issues. This is an issue that often goes unnoticed by consumers and that owners don’t have control over. The bake shop has had issues getting their usual chocolate and having to just use what they can get. Meghan said, “There are all kinds of pieces to this puzzle. If you’re going to do it exactly the same you have to have the exact same ingredients and there’s no way for us to do that right now, we just have to take the ingredients that we can get.”
If you’re ever in the area and want a sweet treat made by great people, pop into McFarlan Bake Shop.
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