A specialty bakery in downtown Salem is expanding to a second kitchen to keep pace with the high demand it’s attracting.
Corbin’s Confections, which whips up treats free of nuts and gluten, plans to shift most of its behind-the-scenes baking to a new kitchen at 1618 Roanoke Blvd. near East Salem Elementary School.
The family-run bakery will still operate out of its downtown storefront, located at 18 E. Main St., next to the Salem Public Library.
But the second, bigger kitchen will ease production and allow it to keep up with an influx of special orders that's been rolling in.
“We’re growing,” said co-owner Kathy Hodges. “It’s getting to be more than our little space can handle.
“I think this will be a great next step for us.”
Corbin’s Confections opened its doors in 2016 with a vision of creating a little shop catering to people with wheat and nut allergies — needs the family well understands as it deals with those allergies within its own ranks.
But, Hodges said, the demand for goods that are both safe and tasty has turned out to exceed their expectations. Orders for elaborate wedding cakes are now common, for example, and businesses from as far away as Richmond are interested in stocking their breads.
All goods must be handcrafted in order to get the right results, Hodges said, so ample space is needed for the process.
The family has a contract to buy the second location on Roanoke Boulevard. The property's zoning conditions were just updated to allow for a custom bakery.
The owners hope to close on the sale within the next two to three months and then begin setting up the new kitchen.
Once the transition is complete, they plan to add more seating to the bakery's Main Street storefront.
The shop is allowed to offer 26 seats, said co-owner Shana Brown, but currently only has seven as more space had to be devoted to the kitchen’s needs.
The bakery also plans to expand its staffing when the larger kitchen is up and running, Brown said.
Currently, it employs a handful of part-time employees. Moving forward, it expects to create as many as six full-time jobs.