The Bus to Success

Angeline’s Bakery and Café is a Sisters staple.

Angeline Rhett, who owns Angeline’s Bakery and Café, a Sisters staple offering healthy and tasty treats, has just taken her first small-business management class after operating the flourishing business for 13 years.
You know how all those self-help books tell you that all you have to do to be successful is follow your passion? Well, Angeline could be the poster woman for that advice.

“I’ve just always had a comfort level with food,” she said. “I like making food for people; it’s fun and it’s a way to socialize.”

The 28-year-old Angeline came to Sisters in the summer of 1995 to fight fires after completing a degree in geography at Portland State University and traveling internationally. At summer’s end, she found herself a little strapped for cash so she filled a little red wagon with sandwiches and cookies and pulled it through Sisters selling her creations to merchants, tourists, and locals.

She noticed a “little hole in the wall” space for rent and decided it was time to go for it and open her bakery. “It was tiny. You couldn’t get four people to turn around in there, it was so small.”

Angeline eventually enlarged the bakery to its current size and it has become the place to go if you want delicious, organic, vegan, and sugar- and gluten-free food. The bakery also sells items made with dairy, eggs, and wheat, but about 90 percent of the baked good are vegan and gluten-free. A lot of customers don’t even know how healthy they’re eating. They just patronize the place because everything tastes so good.

The demand for her gluten-free bread began to grow, and places like Whole Foods and Fred Meyer came calling. “The people who owned the fish company in town would haul my stuff to Portland for me. Then, I would drive to Portland in my mother-in-law’s Honda and get there at five in the morning and load as much as I could and drive around Portland and deliver it.”

During one of her Portland deliveries, she spotted a building with a “for lease” sign. That’s where all the gluten-free bread is now made. She spends part of her week in Portland overseeing bread-making.

Angeline says having the Portland operation has made her more disciplined because the bread has to be made the same way every time. “I can’t follow a recipe to save my life,” she said. “The food here is consistent in spite of me.”

Giving back to the Sisters community is important to her. One of the ways she does that is opening the garden area behind the bakery for a summer concert series called “Festive Fridays.” Sisters Folk Festival performers also use the space. The idea behind Festive Fridays is to create space where people can bring their kids, enjoy the music, dance, and have fun.

What Angeline says she learned in that small business management class was that “I can really steer my bus where I want it. I have the steering power.”

Seems she’s been quite adept at doing just that since that January day in 1997 when Angeline’s Bakery and Café first opened its doors.