Artisanal Bakers from Augusta Market to Open 8th Street Bakery
Downtown Augusta will soon have a new artisanal bakery that the owners, who are regulars at the Augusta Market, plan to open next spring.
Comer, Georgia-based bakers and couple Uwe Happek and Angela Cooper will bring their operation called The Comerian to Augusta under a new name: 8th Street Bakery.
It will be the duo’s second storefront–their first, located in Comer, a town 20 miles east of Athens, will be finished later this month, if all goes as planned. Ever since they started baking, Happek and Cooper relied primarily on sales from small venues like the Augusta Market and Athens Farmers Market.
“We’re like a lemonade stand gone wild,” Happek said.
Happek is a German physicist who studied at Cornell and is now a professor at the University of Georgia. He became interested in baking when his wife picked it up as a hobby while pursuing a career that would put her cognitive science and math degrees to good use.
That proved difficult, but her interest and skills in baking continued to flourish. Cooper eventually became an assistant to another Athens baker who sold his goods at the Athens Farmers Market.
As Cooper honed her skills and expanded her repertoire, she decided to start her own bakery—The Comerian. The craft was no less fascinating to Happek.
“As a scientist, I got interested in the sourdough, the way you feed the starter…bread is a living thing.”
Now, years later, Happek wakes up every Saturday at 5:30 a.m. to drive the couple’s baked goods down to Augusta to sell at the market.
“I think Augusta is more than James Brown and The Masters,” Happek said. “It’s a good city.”
Good enough, apparently, that Happek and Cooper have decided to open a bakery here possibly less than a year after their first storefront opens in Comer later this month.
“Angela lived in Savannah, and Augusta reminds her of Savannah 20 years ago,” Happek said.
The couple are glad they decided to buy a storefront when they did. Happek says the value of the building they bought on 8th street, between Broad Street and Ellis, has already doubled since they bought it last November.
Still, they have their work cut out for them. Happek still wants to knock out the 8th Street building’s low ceilings, just one element of a full-blown renovation.
The Comerian’s founders are also still looking for a skilled baker who can run the bakery in Augusta; Happek and Cooper will probably spend most of their time in Comer and Athens.
“People starting businesses here always say, ‘We’re excited to come to Augusta,’” Happek said. “Well, we like it here already!”