Rick and Dawn Barrowman say they moved from Denver, to embark on an adventure; the opening of Alba Bakery, where they serve colorful baked goods and delicious coffee. It was a career change for both Barrowman’s, the couple, who say they aim to grow their business while inspiring their community with their “live where you work model.”
The Barrowman’s celebrated the opening of Alba Bakery, at the Monarch Crossing Subdivision in Poncha Springs, on Labor Day, 2019. The Monarch Crossing Subdivision is zoned both commercial and residential. The subdivision is constructed with furnished upstairs suites for living quarters and an unfinished street-level portion of the property with the possibility to transform into additional living space, or for businesses to set up shop, such as Alba Bakery, which offers coffee and ‘connosseur baked goods’.
The Barrowman’s developed a joint interest in coffee shops and bakeries while still in Denver, prompting them to begin taking small businesses classes following the completion of Dawn Barrowman’s culinary schooling. Recognizing that the Denver market is saturated in coffee shops and bakeries, and with the potential risk of losing everything they owned in renting an expensive space to lease in Denver, they looked to Poncha Springs.
“We decided to do something different. This was something we were looking at doing for a while,” said Dawn, about the beginning stages of Alba Bakery. “I was a nurse practitioner (NP). We are both retired Army. Rick was working for the government while I was doing different jobs in local work as an NP. I went to culinary school to try something different, without the intention of starting anything.”
The location construction took a year and a half to complete, with decisions made from Denver, while traveling back and forth in the process. The interior of Alba Bakery contains reclaimed barn wood paneling on the walls and pallet wood lining the bottom of the counters, big open windows letting in lots of natural light. Tables and chairs were donated to the Barrowman’s and have also been re-purposed, hand-painted by Dawn, adding additional charm to the business.
Dawn said that although she has had numerous inquiries, she doesn’t make sheet cakes. However, the Barrowman’s have partnered with other local businesses that do provide the services (such as The Little Red Hen and Sweetie’s Sandwich Shop in Salida) for offerings that Alba Bakery may not offer.
The Barrowman’s shared heartwarming stories of encounters with locals and regular visitors to the bakery since they become part of the Chaffee County community. Dawn shared one story about taking on a custom catering order to bake a favorite recipe of their grandma’s cookies.
In addition to baking for the bakery, Dawn has filled custom orders ranging from birthday cakes, sweet treats for the Chaffee County Community Foundation events, Salida Studio Tours and farewell parties.
Rick said that Alba Bakery is making an effort to connect locally. “We started a punch card to say thank you to our regulars. Not just for the people who live a few doors down, but also for the people who live in Maysville. We now have Maysville Monday, where we offer 10 percent off.”
He added, “There are folks out there that don’t want to go all the way down the road into Salida, we have found that some business travelers who were going past Johnson’s Village are going into Buena Vista to grab a coffee, but that’s out of their way. They have now found us, which is on their way.”
Alba Bakery is also looking for some additional help in the bakery for roughly three hours a day, those interested in working for Alba Bakery are also encouraged by the Barrowman’s to reach out and inquire about the job description and responsibilities.