If you’ve walked through the Short North, you may have noticed a small bakery tucked away just off of High Street. An artisan storefront welcomes customers and its stylized vibe feels like something out of a Wes Anderson film. Inside, a collection of delicate baked goods sit behind glass and are piled high. Each one is so intricate, so exact, that the entire scene feels like something from a baking museum.
But that’s not the case.
Each baked good is perfectly edible, perfectly made, and perfectly delicious. Their Lemon Madeleines taste heavenly—light, puffy, and sweet. Their Pain au chocolat sits expertly shaped and textured. Their baguette is simple, but keeps customers coming back day after day.
This place, Laughlin’s Bakery, sits in the heart of the Short North. Like the Short North itself, Laughlin’s takes the ordinary and amplifies it into the extraordinary through hard work and dedication to the craft. In fact, Laughlin’s views its work as edible art, which is hard to disagree with. Lykens Companies values the places and businesses that make the Short North the special place that it is, so we wanted to highlight this treasured bakery. We had the pleasure of chatting with Jonas Laughlin, the bakery’s owner, about his store, his story, and what makes Laughlin’s Baskery so special.
Tell me a little about yourself! I’ve read that you were an opera singer before becoming a baker. How did that journey happen?
That’s right. I went to school to be an opera singer, and was having a pretty successful start to my career when I suddenly got a cold virus that paralyzed my right vocal cord. It took a lot of time to figure out what had happened, and as you can imagine, it emotionally wrecked me for a few years. I discovered that baking helped me in a really therapeutic and calming way…the process of reading a recipe and interpreting it was a lot like reading a musical score and bringing that to life. So through all of the struggles with diagnosing and discovering what had happened to my voice, I was baking in the background. It didn’t become my primary career until about 6 years ago.
When it comes to baked goods, what is Laughlin’s process? People appreciate Laughlin’s consistency—both in look and taste. How is that achieved? What sets Laughlin’s apart?
Well, first and foremost, there’s an extreme commitment in the shop to the quality of the ingredients. We also make everything in house, completely from scratch. We bake in relatively small batches, and that helps to ensure that quality control standards can be met and maintained. Believe it or not, our kitchen is tiny and the temperature back there is poorly regulated, so I spend a lot of my mental energy figuring out ways to mitigate environmental stressors to make sure our temperamental doughs and batters perform consistently throughout the year.
How did Laughlin’s end up in the Short North? What about the neighborhood makes Laughlin’s a perfect fit?
I chose to open the bakery in the Short North because it’s where I’ve been living for the past 8 years. I think of what my coworkers and I do as edible art, so the Arts District seemed like exactly where my shop needed to be. We are lucky in that we have the awesome connection to our Italian Village neighbors (who have been so incredibly supportive of us since we opened), as well as the visitors and weekend-walkers who come down to the area as a special excursion.
Was it scary to take the plunge and open a small business? What that process like? Was there a moment that you felt confident that your bakery would become a success?
I was about as qualified to open a small business as I would be to pilot a space shuttle, to be honest. Once my Kickstarter campaign was successful and it became clear that I really could feasibly start my bakery, I had to do a lot of self-teaching. I was lucky to have a lot of entrepreneurial mentors to steer me in the right directions, but I mostly stumbled very clumsily through the first phases of planning and setting up what would become the shop. Once the doors opened, I really had no idea if people would “get it” and continue coming in. I think it was probably not until my first full year in business that I relaxed a little and saw it as a successful business.
I just want to sincerely thank my customers. They are so overwhelmingly kind, supportive, and engaged with the business. It really makes the crazy late nights worth it!
Thanks to Laughlin’s Bakery for talking to us. We’re thrilled to see another successful small business finds its home in the Short North, especially one that values giving its customers the best care and quality that it can. Cheers to Laughlin’s Bakery and the years of success ahead!
A bit about Lykens Companies…
With 20 years (and counting) of experience, we believe that Lykens Companies is just getting started on its mission to offer Columbus hundreds of premier apartments, rentals, and renovations. Each day, we are driving toward constantly expanding and improving our business and bettering Columbus, the city we love. For our renters, that means that they are connected to a proven business that is always striving to be the best. Our success isn’t an accident. We are constantly striving to improve our quality, both in the buildings that we renovate, reimagine, and rent out; moreover, we are striving to improve in the way that our business operates. For you, that means the best units and the best service in the best locations.
As we invest our time, money, and energy into the Short North, Victorian Village, Italian Village, and other parts of Columbus’s urban core, it’s nothing short of amazing to step back and see how much we’re able to impact our city, whether that looks like renovating apartments, houses, or even factories like the Wonder Bread Lofts and the forthcoming Budd Dairy project: a full scale reimagining of an old dairy factory into a Cameron Mitchell food hall and state-of-the-art coworking space.
If you’re looking to rent in Columbus, Ohio’s urban core, you’ve come to the right place. We’re confident that it doesn’t get better than us when it comes to finding the absolute best apartments and rentals in Columbus.
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