RockinghorseBy Ann McCreary

Rocking Horse Bakery in downtown Winthrop is expanding next door into larger, more spacious quarters, swapping spaces with Fasse North Cascade Realty.

The expansion means more seating area for customers than exists in the current bakery, which has been enlarged twice in the three years since the business was purchased by Steve and Teresa Mitchell.

The new bakery space also enables the Mitchells to double the counter area where coffee and food are served.

“It allows us to improve and enhance the customer service area,” said Steve Mitchell. “It will really improve flow. We want a better experience for our customers, especially our local customers.”

The additional serving area will also allow the bakery to expand its menu and add more lunch items, said Teresa Mitchell. “We want to do what we’ve always done, but do it better,” she said.

The Mitchells said they hope to have the new space open for business before the start of the Christmas holidays.

Fasse North Cascade Realty is moving its eight brokers into space  on the north side of the building that has been occupied by the bakery. A new entrance for the real estate office has been created and the office area will be expanded to the back of the building and separated from current bakery space by a new wall.

The real estate business recently underwent another change, ending its franchise with the international realty firm RE/MAX and adopting its former name. Fasse North Cascade Realty is now owned entirely by Dale Fasse, who has been involved in real estate in the Methow Valley since 1977.

The Mitchells are in the midst of renovating the new space, which was the former truck barn for the Okanogan County Electric Cooperative. The interior has a rustic feel with high, wood-beamed ceilings and barn wood floors, and the Mitchells said they want to maintain that ambiance.

“The theme we want to capture is the history of this space and the town,” Steve Mitchell said.

The Mitchells said they plan to create small, intimate seating areas and include a lounge area with leather furniture. They will continue their tradition of exhibiting local art, and plan to display historical items from the Shafer Museum as well.

The bakery’s kitchen will remain where it is, and will be connected to the new eating area via a new doorway. A hallway will eventually connect the new bakery space to the space remaining in the current bakery after the real estate office is moved in. The Mitchells said they intend to keep using that space, but declined to elaborate on their plans.