The Ragamuffin Bakery finds permanent home inside Hibberd Building
SOUTH BEND, Ind.— For Abigail Gillan, her pop-up bakery at a gallery on East Colfax Avenue was only supposed to last for one month around Christmastime in 2018.
Gillan wound up staying for more than a year to serve up her popular sweet treats to the South Bend community, but she had her eyes set on a bigger dream.
“The goal was always to have a brick and mortar store-front. It’s been a long journey,” Gillan said Wednesday. “It’s been a real blessing in disguise, though. I’ve learned so much.”
About four years after her initial start at the South Bend Farmer’s Market and a series of pop-ups, Gillan now has a permanent home for The Ragamuffin Bakery and Coffee.
The bakery is set to open before the end of April inside of the Hibberd Building in downtown South Bend.
While she’s not from the area, Gillan found a home in South Bend over 10 years ago when her mother moved from central Indiana to teach at a local college.
After years of pursuing an acting career on both coasts, Gillan decided that there was no better place than Michiana to plant her roots and grow her business.
“I really just slowly fell in love with South Bend and found myself not wanting to leave,” Gillan said.
Everything from the bakery's name to its logo is personal for Gillan.
“It’s what my parents called me growing up,” Gillan said. “It was either ragamuffin or scallywag so ragamuffin it was.”
To find her logo, Gillan had to sift through artwork from her childhood stored in her mother’s basement.
“The drawing is courtesy of my little brother when he was three-years-old, so early 90's” Gillan said.
In opening up the bakery, Gillan has faced a long list of challenges. She’s learned the ins and outs of a bakery buildout and managed to fit all of her bakery’s many electrical appliances into a less than 675 square foot storefront.
On Tuesday, just two days before the planned opening, Gillan was again hit with another obstacle, but one she quickly worked to solve.
“I was very excited to do our first full day of baking in the new space,” Gillan. “When our first batch of cookies went in, our two ovens went kaput.”
Gillan said that the faulty ovens will be repaired in the next few days at which point she will finally be able to open her dream bakery.
The self-taught baker said she will continue offering what she calls the “cult favorites.”
The Ragamuffin's brown butter and tahini chocolate chip cookies
The Ragamuffin's espresso sandwiches
The Ragamuffin's cinnamon rolls
“Our two gluten-free options, the chocolate chip oatmeal peanut butter cookie being the most popular of those, and bagels, croissants, cinnamon rolls, which we started making late last summer and that has sort of been the runaway hit,” Gillan said.
The list goes on and on to include unique coffee cakes and cookies.
“Always pretty classic but with a little spin on them,” Gillan said.
Red Arrow Roasters created a special brew for the bakery that will be available once the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are lifted. Customers can still, however, purchased the bagged coffee during the restrictions.
In response to the pandemic, upon opening, only three customers will be allowed inside of the shop at once and may only purchase take-away items. Coffee drinks will not be available while restrictions are in place. Customers are also asked to wear face coverings to protect themselves and employees.
“We’ll have little x marks on the floor to show people where to stand,” Gillan said.
Looking ahead, Gillan hopes to offer savory items for the lunchtime crowd and loaves of freshly baked bread in the future.
Outdoor patio seating will be available for customers once restrictions are lifted as well.
The Ragamuffin Bakery is located inside of the Hibberd Building at 321 South Main Street in South Bend. Its normal hours of operation will be Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.