The bakery is open

Paige Welter, a sophomore at DeForest Area High School, has been running her business called Paige’s Gourmet Goods since late April. Pictured here are some of the tasty treats on her menu, including her blackberry mint cheesecake, her sunburst citrus muffins and her oatmeal raisin sandwich cookies.

Paige Welter’s bakery business has taken off.

The sophomore at DeForest Area High School began baking a few months ago and just started Paige’s Gourmet Goods in late April.

“It’s been pretty fast-paced,” said Welter.

Welter said she started all this because she needed a hobby, especially with the quarantines that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I always liked watching cooking shows on TV,” said Welter. “I was interested in watching other people bake.”

Welter said she doesn’t remember what she tried to make first.

“It didn’t really turn out,” said Welter.

In short order, however, Welter became a skilled baker, making cookies, pound cake, cheesecake, muffins and apple cinnamon bread.

Welter said her blackberry cheesecake is pretty popular, although her apple cinnamon bread might just be her customers’ favorite item.

When she was younger, Welter said she relied on her parents’ cooking, but as she’s grown older, she said she has become more independent. Her bakery business is evidence of that maturity.

Paige’s dad, Paul Welter, works in a hospital and started generating sales for Paige’s baked goods. Orders increased rapidly.

Paige works off recipes she’s looked up online, picking the most interesting ones and then adding her own touches. In her own words, she said she “kind of messed around with them,” and adapted the recipes to her own style of baking, which she said is “definitely comfort food.”

She does her baking in the family kitchen at her house, while juggling school responsibilities and her efforts to get her driver’s license.

“I guess I don’t (cook) every day, just when sales need to be completed,” said Paige, who has an 18-year-old brother, Cayden. Her mother is Lisa Welter, Paul’s wife.

Starting her own business has taught Paige some lessons, including the ability to manage her time better.

“I think it’s definitely taught me to be a lot more independent,” said Paige.

Her customer base is widening. Paige sells not only to extended family and people at her dad’s workplace, but also teachers at her school and neighbors.

“I feel like it could expand,” said Paige. “I’m running out of people to sell baked goods to, but I don’t know what the future will look like (for the business).”

Paige isn’t sure if she wants to have a bakery business as a career. She said she’s really interested in marine biology and marine photography.

After school, Paige would like to take a break from baking, but eventually, she could return to it and revive her baking business, or even try to have her own cooking show.

For right now, Paige is just forging ahead with Paige’s Gourmet Goods, her education and getting that driver’s license.

“It’s a lot to handle, but the business has taught me how to deal with it,” said Paige.

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