After five years of selling wholesale and through delivery and farmers’ markets, a local gluten-free and vegan bakery has its first dedicated retail storefront.
AnnaB’s Gluten Free is opening its own shop Aug. 26 in a Mechanicsville strip center at 7426 Brandy Creek Drive.
The bakery specializes in gluten-free and vegan breads, bagels, pastries and cakes, and previously has sold at the South of the James Farmer’s Market. It also wholesales to markets and restaurants in the area, including Ellwood Thompson’s, Whole Foods, Ipanema Cafe, Continental Westhampton and Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream.
“We used to do retail through delivery and drop-off locations throughout Richmond … We’ve never had a storefront before,” said Angela Eby, who co-owns the business with her sister, Kimi Brown. “Our wholesale grew and we’ve had people calling all the time asking.”
Eby and Brown bought the business from its original owner and namesake, Anna Straus, in 2012. Eby said they kept the name because her and Brown’s grandmother was also named Anna.
The pair has been baking out of a garage shell they built and outfitted as a commercial kitchen in Hanover County, but Eby said they needed more space to fulfill wholesale orders – especially outside the region.
“We ship out of state a lot, and we send care packages to students all around,” Eby said. “A lot of places offer gluten-free, but we do breads well, and it’s hard to do a good gluten-free bread. It’s not necessarily the cupcakes and stuff, it’s the buns and breads kids miss.”
Eby said the company is leasing the 3,000-square-foot location, just off Mechanicsville Turnpike. It will serve Rostov’s coffee to go with bakery items and will have a for-rent party room for kids.
AnnaB’s expansion comes as another local gluten-free bakery was forced to shut down after five years in business, after its owner says she was denied re-entry to the country because of visa issues.