Stark County woman opens new bakery in Louisville amid COVID-19 challenges

Stark County woman opens new bakery in Louisville amid COVID-19 challenges
Ashley Graham isn't letting covid-19 precautions keep her from accomplishing the American Dream. She recently opened a bakery on Main Street in Louisville. (Source: In the Mix Bakery)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The coronavirus has forced many small business owners to temporarily close and layoff employees.

Ashley Graham was faced with tough decisions too. She had to decide whether to go ahead with the planned opening of her In The Mix Bakery in Louisville.

“It was inconvenient, but the space was here,” Graham said. “It’s been here for so long. We were finally ready that I was just like, ‘I have nothing else to do, it’s here (and) we got to do something.’”

Louisville Bakery Opens Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Graham, who has a baking and pastry degree, opened her shop in mid-April.

The business is located at 234 East Main Street.

“I love trying different recipes. That’s kind of why I chose to go about it the way I did. More of a small batch bakery so I can try different things and be creative," Graham said.

It’s not the first obstacle she’s faced. She actually planned to open the bakery in 2019, but structural issues with the building brought delays.

That ordeal and statewide COVID-19 precautions have taught her early lessons on how to adapt.

“Right now, with the coronavirus and everything, we’re doing like a weekly menu rather than filling the case to try and prevent people from coming in and out all day,” Graham said.

As Ohio gets back to business and people regain a sense of normalcy, Graham said she’s ready to really define her business.

“What are you looking forward to most when you’re able to operate in the way that you envisioned?,” asked reporter Damon Maloney.

“I just love when people come in. I love getting to talk to people. I love getting to see their faces when they pick up cakes,” Graham said. “And when little kids come in and see the case full of stuff and get to pick what they want, it’s just awesome seeing people coming in and getting to interact with the community.”

Call-in orders for custom cakes and making other items including bars, brownies, cookies and cupcakes have kept her busy.

“The past three weeks, we’ve had like 60 to 90 orders every week. So it’s awesome,” Graham said.

She can’t thank the community enough for supporting her in a strange time.

“Everybody in the community has been very welcoming,” Graham said. "I’ve gotten letters in the mail from ladies. They’ve lived in Louisville for their whole lives. They’re 90 years old, and they’re so excited to see a bakery here.”

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