Sunday, June 1, 2003

Aunt Flora's opens its doors at last

By Chuck Martin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

After months of cleaning, moving in equipment and second-guessing her decision to bake pies and cobblers for a living, Katrina Mincy finally opened Aunt Flora's Bakery in Price Hill Friday.

Leigha Axom of Cornucopia, Linda Adams of LJ's Wings & Etc. and Katrina Mincy of Aunt Flora's opened Friday on Warsaw Avenue in Price Hill.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
In December, when we last told you about Mincy and her dream to own a bakery, she planned to open within a week. But those in the food business know that plans routinely change.

The space Mincy rented on Warsaw Avenue, which formerly held a restaurant, wasn't quite ready for her to move in. After the health department told her what kind of changes she had to make to the building, Mincy and her husband, Ronald, had to figure out how to afford it.

"We didn't want to borrow for this," Mincy says. "So we had to get cash."

While work on the bakery slowly continued, she sold pies from her home and her husband found a second part-time job. Ronald first had the idea of his wife opening a bakery after he realized her talent for baking.

Mincy credits her aunt Flora Saunders - her bakery's namesake - back home in Beaver Falls, Pa., as her inspiration in the kitchen. In the 1940s, Saunders portrayed Aunt Jemima at events around the country and was an excellent cook.

"I was always amazed at how she could cook without measuring anything," Mincy says.

She began baking more sweet potato cobblers, pies and other Aunt Flora specialties nearly three years ago, after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a debilitating muscular disease. She couldn't work for three months and began selling baked goods from home to help pay bills.

"Making pies is a gift God gave me," says Mincy, who serves as an associate Baptist minister with her husband in Avondale.

But now Mincy admits there were times she wasn't sure she was ready to open and run the bakery by herself. This helped her decide to invite her sister, Linda Adams, and daughter, Leisha Axom. Adams will cook and serve chicken wings and other savory foods under the name L.J. Wings & Etc while Axiom brews and mixes gourmet tea, coffee and smoothies as owner of Cornucopia. The new Price Hill restaurant may be the only place where you can buy wings, waffles, herbal tea and sweet potato cobbler under one roof.

"They will help share the cost and take some of the work load off me," says Mincy of her partners.

She hopes the bakery will someday help her finance another, bigger dream: A retreat for women who need holistic treatment - the kind of place she needed not long ago.

"Now that Aunt Flora's is open, I feel I can breathe deeply and concentrate on my ministry," Mincy says.

Aunt Flora's Bakery, L.J. Wings & Etc. and Cornucopia, 3618 Warsaw Ave., Price Hill; 921-7437.

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