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Bakery helps owner feel at home in Bloomsburg

Nataliia Bundziak removes cooked Chimney cones from the cooker.
AIMEE DILGER
/
WVIA News
Nataliia Bundziak removes cooked chimney cones from the cooker.

The signature item on Little Bakery of Bloomsburg’s menu starts out as a strip of yeasted dough.

Nataliia Bundziak arrives early every morning to prepare the dough that will yield her chimney cakes throughout the day. As customers order them, she swirls strips of the dough around wooden cones and places them in an oven specifically designed for the pastry.

“My plan was to open something for local people to enjoy,” Bundziak said. “I wanted to bring in something from our culture that people have never tried to bring people a new experience with.”

Once baked, Bundziak lines the cone-shaped chimneys with a chocolate hazelnut spread and nuts, then fills them with fruit- typically strawberries, but raspberries are an option - and tops them with either whipped cream or a swirl of soft-serve ice cream, depending on the order.

Nataliia Bundziak holds a prepared ice cream chimney cake.
AIMEE DILGER
/
WVIA News
Nataliia Bundziak holds a prepared ice cream chimney cake.

Bundziak and her husband moved to Bloomsburg from Prague last year. She was born in Ukraine and spent 20 years living in the Czech Republic. As of September, she’s a permanent resident of the United States - making her a resident of three different countries.

She opened her Little Bakery about 10 months ago with the chimney cake as a centerpiece. When she was researching “competition,” Bundziak said she could only find one other bakery in Pennsylvania selling them.

She knew people would stop into the bakery to try the chimney cakes, but she wanted to offer cookies, cakes and breads, especially traditional Czech and Ukrainian treats. She works with a baker who immigrated from Ukraine just days before the war with Russia started, and said her logo is a nod to the Ukrainian symbol of a sunflower.

She also wanted to fill what she saw as a lack of a locally owned bakery in downtown Bloomsburg.

“When you walk downtown in Prague, the small bakeries are like mine,” she said.

The Little Bakery in Bloomsburg.
AIMEE DILGER
/
WVIA News
The Little Bakery in Bloomsburg.

On a recent morning, Bundziak prepared the shells of a handful of chimney cakes as she waited for customers to arrive. Once the customers started coming in, business steadily increased.

One person stopped in for a slice of cannoli cake. Another came in for a sticky bun, and Bundziak cut a large, thickly iced slab of the cinnamon swirled pastry that barely fit in a to-go package.

Soon, the two-person tables of the bakery were filled with people sipping coffee and eating their way through chimney cakes, cookies and their own giant sticky buns.

Bundziak chatted with each customer, offering recommendations or reaching for their regular orders. Opening the bakery, she said, has helped her feel a part of the Bloomsburg community.

“My customers, because they are local, they have become friends,” she said. “I do not feel like a stranger or a foreigner anymore. It’s my hometown.”

Sarah Scinto is the local host of Morning Edition on WVIA. She is a Connecticut native and graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, and has previously covered Northeastern Pennsylvania for The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Citizens’ Voice and Greater Pittston Progress.

You can email Sarah at sarahscinto@wvia.org