House of the Rising Buns Bakery in the Felida area is a family affair. Owner, Fred Thomas, works alongside his middle daughter, Kathryn, during the day. His younger daughter, Stephanie, and wife, Darla, come in most afternoons to help with clean up and counter sales.
After years of baking for fundraisers at Columbia Adventist Academy in the Meadow Glade neighborhood, as well as church potlucks and family gatherings, Thomas decided to make a drastic career change. House of the Rising Buns opened in August 2013.
“Through a lot of encouragement and savings, we were able to open the bakery where we’re at,” Thomas said.
Where they’re at is a building in Felida that used to be a pizza place and is surrounded by residential development. Situated between a driving school and a convenience store has helped with the challenge of not having a lot of businesses around to draw customers to. House of the Rising Buns and Country Store quite literally have an open door policy. The interior door between the businesses is left open during business hours so about one third of their customers come from Country Store.
“We had looked in different locations around Vancouver,’’ Thomas said. “We have paid cash for everything. (Felida) seemed the least expensive. The community in Felida is just welcoming us with open arms.”
To return the favor, Thomas is working diligently to keep the displays full with sweet and savory scones, cinnamon rolls, biscuits, muffins, Danish pastries, cookies, cupcakes, bars and breads. Hallah, a Jewish, braided bread is made by Thomas and braided by Kathryn. Other breads available include wheat, white, French, sourdough and rye.
“I’ve been baking for many years. Chemistry and math and English and all these cool subjects that we learned in school that we didn’t think we’d need, I use them all in baking,” said Thomas.
With Thomas’ enthusiasm for education, it’s no surprise the he looked to the professional baking program at Clark College to build upon his self-taught knowledge.
“It’s a really good program at Clark,’’ Thomas said. “I recommend anybody who’s wanting to get into baking or improve their own skills, to enroll in Clark’s baking program.”
Aware of dietary restrictions and preferences, Thomas also offers vegan cinnamon rolls and is working on vegan scones.
“Most of our breads are vegan,’’ he said. “Everything is baked here. Everything’s baked from scratch.”
Wheat-free options are also available on request. Thomas has had requests for Jalapeno rolls, hot dog buns and hamburger buns which he’s happy to accommodate with some advanced notice.
“We have pies on request, but we’re going to start having them on a regular basis,” Thomas added.
In addition to bakery items, House of the Rising Buns features Caffé D’arte coffee out of Seattle. Kathryn was personally trained by Caffé D’arte to create an array of espresso-based coffee drinks and, as part-owner, she bakes all of the cookies and bars and has been experimenting with scones.
Some of the most requested items are their sweet and savory scones as well as cinnamon rolls.
“We’ll go through 70 scones in a day,” said Thomas. Huckleberry scones are particularly popular.
As the holidays approach, House of the Rising Buns will offer to take some burden off area residents.
“We’re going to be making candies and confections closer to the holidays,’’ Thomas said. “We’re offering holiday packages, as well, so if you want someone to do your baking for you, we’ll do that.”
House of the Rising Buns Bakery can be reached at (360) 718-8330 and is located at 1804 NW 119th Street, Vancouver. Hours of operation are: Sundays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Mon-Thu, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fridays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; and closed Saturdays.