When we stumbled upon The Village Bakery on TikTok, we immediately wanted to know more. The Village Bakery is primarily run by people with special needs in Hayden, Idaho. Dana Bellefeuille, owner of The Village Bakery, made it a goal to not only provide those with special needs a place to work and feel fulfilled and accepted within society, but to offer great food too. When parents with small children who have special needs come into the bakery, Bellefeuille hopes they have a peace knowing what is possible for their kids as they grow up. What’s more, Bellefeuille has observed her staff make significant strides in their skillsets that they had never experienced before working at The Village Bakery.
What inspired you to get into foodservice?
“We opened our special needs bakery just this last year. We have two kids with special needs, and as parents, we just want to know our kids will have a place in society and be accepted. A couple of years ago, we met a young woman with Downs Syndrome who said it was her dream to work in a coffee shop or bakery, and I knew what I had to do: take my 20 years of pastry experience and raising kids with special needs and create our bakery.”
What do you love about your business?
“I call it a vortex of blessings that just keeps giving. I could tell you story after story that will make you cry tears of joy on the accomplishments happening in our bakery. One young lady with Downs Syndrome who had zero math skills is now running the register and teaching her co-workers how to do it too. A young man with Autism articulated for the first time, blowing his parents’ minds on what he can do.”
What’s the most interesting thing to happen to your business?
“How can we narrow it down to just one? Just being here has changed lives for the better. Not just for our team, but for the community as well. We are showing the world what is possible if just given the chance. Seeing growth on a daily basis from our team and what they are learning has been the coolest thing.”
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
“Finding the finances to make this dream come true and being able to afford the equipment needed; that is difficult in any business, especially the food business. We are being met with kindness from our entire community locally and abroad. They’ve come together to help us with our needs so we can continue to bless others.”