‘It’s gone so well’: Flour Garden Bakery celebrates 40 years | TheUnion.com

‘It’s gone so well’: Flour Garden Bakery celebrates 40 years

Flour Garden workers include, from left, Manager Orian Vinitzky, Manager Briana Campos, founders Susan and Bill Copeland, Assistant Manager Sarah Furlich, and barista Abigail Willer. Flour Garden, with two Grass Valley locations and one Auburn location, celebrated its 40th anniversary recently.
Photo: Elias Funez

Asked how she felt about reaching the 40-year mark since first opening Flour Garden Bakery, owner Susan Copeland said, in a word, “Lucky.”

Susan Copeland and her husband, Bill Copeland, first opened the original Flour Garden in March 1981. There are now two Grass Valley locations — the original in the Glenbrook Basin, and another downtown — as well as a third in Auburn.

Susan and Bill Copeland smile from the inside of the original Flour Garden location next to the Sutton Way Safeway.
Photo: Elias Funez

“I feel incredibly lucky that it’s gone so well and been so well received in the community,” said Copeland.

At the beginning, Susan and Bill Copeland were both baking, in addition to her working at the counter and his contributions in construction.

Assistant Manager Sarah Furlich prepares an order of Refreshing Green Juice for a customer which includes cucumber, apple, lemon, ginger, parsley and spinach.
Photo: Elias Funez

“We’ve run it together, and it’s been great to work as a team,” she said on working with her husband.

The business started with just the couple and one employee, and now employs 50 people across the three locations.

Pastries of many different kinds can be found for sale at Flour Garden locations.
Photo: Elias Funez

Copeland described their staff as “a great, wonderful crew at the bakery, without whom we would be nowhere.”

She said that, in 40 years of business, a lot has changed since the bakery’s opening menu of dark roast coffee and handmade pastries, muffins, and scones — from learning to make bagels from friends on the East Coast in their first decade, to adding a cyber cafe in 1996, and expanding their food offerings to soups, sandwiches, and salads with the help of their friend, local chef Peter Selaya.

Bill Copeland opened Flour Garden Bakery with his wife, Susan Copeland, in March 1981.
Submitted to The Union
Flour Garden owner Susan Copeland said she feels “lucky” to have reached the 40-year milestone.
Submitted to The Union

In their third decade, said Copeland, they also added an organic juice bar, “inspired long before by the Juice Bar Collective in Berkeley.”

“But, we envisioned a place that would feel welcoming to everyone, and I think that has remained the same,” she said.

Customers place orders at the Flour Garden counter in Grass Valley last week. Flour Garden, with three area locations, celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Photo: Elias Funez

According to Copeland, another element that has remained the same since they opened the business, following an immersion in the ”California cuisine” culinary movement in Berkeley, has been their commitment to high-quality ingredients.

“When we came up here, we were already baking completely from scratch, and we have added more organic ingredients and more locally grown ingredients as the years have gone by, of course, but we always tried to make the highest quality products,” said Copeland.

Flour Garden barista Abigail Willer prepares a drink last week at the Sutton Way location.
Photo: Elias Funez

“I think that’s something that’s been consistent and certainly is a part of our success.”

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.

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