Walking into The Home Bakery Company on a weekday morning, I am greeted pleasantly by the staff and early bird customers. I was here to interview the man responsible for making one of the nation’s most fresh home-made goods. Jim Tilander grabs a loaf from the baking rack and places it into an old fashion bread machine for slicing – cinnamon toast was being prepared in this kitchen.
Despite a loud, productive kitchen, I begin asking Jim about his aspirations to start the business. Jim’s father, a former Vietnam Veteran, began working as a culinary chef at Tongue Point Job Corps in Astoria. In 1977, his father opened his own bakery. Jim was just 12-years-old when he started learning to bake alongside his father. His father passed along the family’s tradition of baking to Jim, who was motivated by wanting to purchase his own clothes, Converse shoes, Levi jeans, and eventually a 50 Honda bike. In 1988, Jim assumed ownership of his father’s bakery.
Jim’s wife, Kathy, has been instrumental in the business for the past 40 years. Kathy was responsible for ordering and organizing the store. Their daughter, Katie, has also helped in the family business.
Jim’s focus on community is apparent. He spoke of praying with customers and for those in dire, like homeless people. Jim said it makes him happy knowing he satisfied a customer with baked treats and also lifted them up spiritually as they walked out the door. Jim says, “without God’s help, I wouldn’t have had as much success as I do.”
Jim also credits his faith for his excellent health. Jim has never missed a day of work due to being sick. His main secret? “Have love in your heart. There is no room for hate,” he says.
While he keeps the recipes for pastries and donuts secret, Jim mentioned he also makes toasts for diabetics
Jim starts his day at 3:00 a.m., often working in the hot kitchen all morning. After placing orders he usually heads out, and then cuts about five truckloads of firewood. He appreciates his crew that work in the bakery.
On special days, Jim and his crew make homemade holiday pies and fruit cake. Call ahead for special requests.
Step inside The Home Bakery Company and fall in love with not only the tasty treats, but the people, too.
The Home Bakery Company
2845 Marine Drive in Astoria
Open Tuesday through Saturday from 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Follow The Home Bakery Company on Facebook.