Six days a week, Lyn Singleton pulls out of her driveway in Silver Bay at 1:30 a.m. That's when her work day begins at the Honey Bee Bakery, which she opened five weeks ago in Beaver Bay. She said owning her own business is worth the odd hours she keeps.
"I can't remember not wanting my own place. It's fulfilling a dream of mine," she said.
Singleton and her daughter-in-law, Lisa Larsen, opened up the bakery and cafe just off of Highway 61 in the Beaver Bay Community Center building. They serve sandwiches, soup, coffee, pasties and a wide variety of baked goods, including pastries and breads.
Singleton is in charge of the baking and cooking. Larsen travels from her home in Cambridge, Minn., one day a week to keep track of Honey Bee's finances and paperwork.
"I haven't found a recipe I can't bake but I can't run a computer, so she takes care of that," Singleton said.
In the small community of Beaver Bay, new businesses have to find a niche. Singleton and Larsen decided to focus on simple, affordable, made-from-scratch food.
"I've been to some places where my husband and I got two sandwiches and a tea and it came out to twenty-six dollars," she said. At the Honey Bee, a half sandwich and cup of soup costs $6.50.
The décor is in keeping with her no-frills philosophy. Her contractor, Matt Mattson, helped break down a wall to create a large, open and airy space with room for chairs and tables. The red and black counter is from a pizza parlor in Duluth that closed.
"It was like a jig-saw puzzle fitting it in at first, but in the end I couldn't have ordered it better," she said.
While she focuses on keeping costs down, she avoids cutting corners on the quality of her baked goods. "For the most part everything you'll find here is made from scratch," she said.
Singleton said her caramel rolls, baked fresh every morning, are her specialty.
"I keep the recipes for my caramel rolls and my frosting in a safety deposit box," she said. Those recipes are the product of decades of tweaking. She learned to bake when she was 10 and has been baking and cooking professionally for more than
"I read recipe books like other people read novels," she said.
Though the bakery has been open for just a few weeks, Singleton said she already has regular customers.
"Everyone's been asking me, 'Have you been to Lyn's bakery yet?' " Marion Shamblin of Beaver Bay said to Singleton when she came in Monday morning. Word of the Honey Bee also is spreading through its Facebook page, maintained by employee Katie Bonner.
The café takes lunch orders from workers at the taconite plant before the store opens each morning. "There's a five a.m. shift at North Shore Mining so a lot of them will pick a sandwich up on their way to work," Singleton said.
Her pasties, made once a week, also are popular.
"Thursday is killer pasty day," she said. "I say 'killer' because it just about kills me making them all."
She consistently sells out of pasties by the end of the day.
Though Singleton said she's still busy "working the kinks out" of the operation, she hopes to add more to her menu soon.
"I'd like to offer more in the morning, a breakfast sandwich and one or two items like quiche or egg bake."
But for now, customers seem happy with her sweeter breakfast options.
"There's nothing like taking those caramel rolls out of the oven and seeing someone take their first bite," Singleton said.