After nine years of operating Rocking Horse Bakery in downtown Winthrop, owners Steve and Teresa Mitchell have put the business up for sale.
In an interview, Steve Mitchell said that he and Teresa are looking toward their retirement years, but will continue living in the valley and will stay active.
“We’re not going anywhere,” he said, adding that he anticipates that many current staff members will stay on under new ownership.
“The business is at a good point, but it has so much more potential to get to the next level,” he said. For instance, with additional resources the bakery could expand its catering and special orders businesses. The bakery has seen its breakfast and lunch business grow, and coffee sales have always been strong, Mitchell said.
The Mitchells’ two children, Kavi and Neela, are both out of high school now. “It feels like it’s a good time for us and business,” Steve said of the decision to sell.
The original Rocking Horse, founded in 2005, started in the building it occupies now, but took up the spaces now used by the Lariat Coffee Roasters retail shop and Mountain to River Realty. The Mitchells purchased the bakery from founders Dave Swenson and Meghan Sullivan in 2010.
“We were in Vermont, looking to get back to the West Coast,” Mitchell said. “We knew and loved the Methow. We looked at other opportunities, and the bakery popped up.”
“What sucked us in was the community,” Mitchell added. “The relationships we’ve formed have been huge.”
While the bakery’s kitchen has always been in the same place, the Mitchells enlarged the coffee shop a couple of times. In 2014, the Mitchells dramatically expanded into the eastern end of the building — formerly occupied by Fasse North Cascade Realty but historically significant as the Okanogan County Electric Co-op building — creating more space for seating and retailing.
For a while, the current Lariat space housed another Mitchell venture, Methow Masala, specializing in Teresa’s unique spice mixtures and other items. The spices are still sold in the bakery. “It’s a passion for her,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said that from the beginning, “the nature of our business was that we pledged to be community-minded.” Rocking Horse supports several local nonprofits, and Steve has been heavily involved in creating and maintaining a system of fat bike trails.
“We’ve always wanted Rocking Horse to be a Methow Valley gathering spot,” Mitchell said. “We hope that tradition can continue.” The bakery has also been a showcase for local art.
The Mitchells can regularly be found shuttling back and forth between the kitchen and sales counter. “We’ve always been proponents of being on-site owners,” Mitchell said. “You need to be in front of your customers.”
Those customers are what Mitchell called “an eclectic mix” of locals and visitors. “We love that about the business,” he said.
The bakery is being sold through a Seattle-based business broker, Oliver Kotelnikov International Business Associates, reachable at (206) 406-2439.