Dalishas Bakery & Cafe may have closed the doors on their brick and mortar location, but owner Alisha Hardison has found a home for her business at the Owensboro Regional Farmers’ Market.
Since the beginning of the season in April, Hardison and team have been setting up shop at the Saturday morning and Wednesday afternoon markets. The response has been overwhelming.
“Everyone has been fabulous,” Hardison said. “I think a lot of people have just been missing us. We’ve had such support from the customers we had before.”
There’s also been plenty of new faces visiting their table. Hardison said they’re the “new kid on the block” for the market, and they’re excited to see the market’s regular customers who maybe hadn’t been to the bakery before.
Whether customers come to her booth searching for their bakery favorite or just looking to try something new, Dalishas has plenty of options available. Their biggest sellers have been chicken salad and pimento cheese (sold by the pound) and strawberry pretzel salad. On Saturday mornings they sell whole quiches and whole hot chicken casseroles. At the Wednesday afternoon market, held at Owensboro Health, they focus on lunch items like wraps and croissants. But cookies, cakes and pie slices are always for sale at each location.
“It’s a lot of the same stuff from the bakery, just scaled back,” Hardison said. “The two employees with me now have been with me since the beginning. We joke about how much chicken salad we make all the time. We sold 150 pounds in one week and we could have done more.”
Naturally, she was nervous about trying something new. Hardison wasn’t sure how customers of vendors would receive the bakery’s presence, or how they’d make things work logistically with cold products.
“Three very large coolers and an old white passenger van later and we are good to go,” she said.
She also wasn’t sure what people would want to purchase, but she said the market came at the perfect time for her.
“I desperately needed a place just to have my products available and I missed interacting with my customers,” she said. “It has fulfilled both of those things in a big way. I love the atmosphere. Your customer is right there and you get to interact and talk to them. That’s one of my favorite parts.”
Hardison said she’s also impressed by the community among the vendors, saying she never dreamed she’d be surrounded by “such talented, hard-working small business owners who have been nothing but accepting and kind.” Even if they’re selling similar items, she said, the vendors are all supportive of each other.
“No one is in competition,” she said.
When she’s not at the market, Hardison is making wedding cakes out of her church’s kitchen until she has a commercial one of her own. She’s considering building a commercial kitchen onto her home and is exploring the possibility of getting a food truck.
Whether it’s out of a storefront, a market or a future location, Hardison’s creations have a following.
“We joke that we now have a Dalishas trinity,” she said. “Chicken salad, pimento cheese and strawberry pretzel salad. We can never make enough of any of those things.”