Jamie Propes Kopper Kettle

PHOTO BY ALEX WELIEVER

Jamie Propes started selling baked goods from her home in 2018 and now operates a bakery full-time with her husband, Jammie Propes.

Was this opening of the Kopper Kettle a relocation of the original business?

“We were just baking from home. We just had our bakery stuff from home and we didn’t even have all of it. Mainly cookies, cakes, pies, noodles, some of our candy. We did that stuff from home and when we moved in here we started doing more of the cinnamon rolls, serving breakfast, serving lunch, doing a lot more catering, stuff like that.”

So you used to operate just outside of your home? When did that start?

“November of last year. Yeah, I’ve been cooking and baking and stuff for friends and family for years. We had done some catering and stuff for our church and I loved it. So we said, ‘Well, let’s take six months and see what happens.’ Well, it exploded. We had order after order after order come in and it was to the point of, I was going to have to make a choice of whether I should keep my job that I had or do this. So we discussed it and did the numbers and decided that we can make this work and it could replace my other jobs, so that’s what we did.

“My ultimate dream is to build a wedding venue. To have this in the front, and then a barn, ornamental trees, flowering trees, ponds, fountains and a gazebo in the back to where I could cater for weddings, make wedding cakes and help brides be happy.”

In less than a year of just starting from home, you went from just cooking from home to now having a physical location. How’d that transition go?

“The transition wasn’t bad. I kept doing bakery orders from home while we were working in here and building. So there were a lot of late nights. And, you know, we aren’t completely done here. We still have a lot of decorating to do. Family is everything to us. So that’s part of the reason. The other part of the reason we decided to do this, it’s not only my dream, but you know, our kids all love to cook.

“The transition was a little scary. It was a little hectic. We ran into some things that we had no idea we were going to have problems with, like our air conditioning on the day that we opened just did not keep up. We’ve since gotten that ironed out a little bit better. But, you know, we’ll just we’ll keep growing. We’ll keep expanding and we’ll finally eventually achieve what we want.”

How’s business so far?

“Actually, we’ve exceeded the number of customers we thought we would. Breakfast is very, very good. I’m working on critiquing the lunch menu because there are just some of the lunches that aren’t going over as well as I would have hoped. So there will be some coming off and being replaced with the home-style favorites that have gone over well, like our beef and noodles. My little cheddar meatloaves, chicken and noodles, stuff like that. So there will be changes to our lunch menu, but I think our breakfast menu is probably going to pretty much stay what it is.”

So what led you to that kind of model where a different lunch is offered every day?

“Part of it was we wanted to keep our overhead low and still be able to provide a quality home-cooked meal. All of the recipes on there are either mine, my mom’s, my husband’s mom, grandparents, great-grandparents; they’re all family recipes. There’s nothing on there that comes out of a package, per se. I knew I could do that and make one homestyle meal a day, but I didn’t think I could do that and offer a full scale menu. It would be too much, there would be so much overhead, it would be crazy. And this is a small place, so we have to really concentrate on keeping the amount of supplies we have to a minimum so that we don’t run out of space, and we can keep everything fresh and all of our customers happy and healthy.”

Why did you decide to call it the Kopper Kettle?

“My dad actually came up with this name before he passed away. So in honor of him, we kept it. It was pretty bittersweet when they started hanging the signs.”

Out of all those recipes, do you have a favorite one or one that you’d rather make if you had the choice?

“I think my favorite to make is my little cheddar meatloaves. They’re just little balls of yummy. So I mean, that’s just something that I’ve made for years. I’ve changed the recipe over time to make it better. But I created that when I was in my mid-20s, several years ago.”

What sets the Kopper Kettle apart from a couple of other bakeries in town?

“We don’t sell doughnuts and we have five varieties of sweet rolls. We have our brown sugar cinnamon rolls that are in our display cases daily. And then we have four varieties that are fruit filled. We have an apple, blackberry, raspberry and blueberry that, right now, until we get our refrigerated case, our customers can special order by the dozen. But we don’t sell doughnuts.

“I just I didn’t want to do them. I am not a doughnut fan.”