Middleton bakery reopens as Bloom Bindery

The space is a perfect for cozy reading nook

The backstory: In November 2017, Bloom Bake Shop owner Annemarie Maitri did something nonintuitive – she closed a thriving business in Middleton after eight years. “I was exhausted,” says Maitri, who opened a second location on Monroe Street in January 2017. “[The Middleton location] was still growing and growing and thriving, but by November, I was not.” Running two full production bakeries was insane, she says, and they had outgrown the Middleton space. The choice to temporarily close the Middleton location proved to be an opportunity to take a step back and see its potential. Out of that reflection came the idea for Bloom Bindery, which pairs cookies with community. Maitri and her partner Mark Pavlovich and associate Nicole Drives plan to work with nonprofits, including Literacy Network and Madison Reading Project, to help get books into people’s hands – all while offering delicious cookies to go along with those books, of course.

The vibe: The small corner space in downtown Middleton is everything you’d want in a cozy reading nook, meant as a place for patrons to curl up with a good book and a treat. Bloom is partnering with Monroe Street’s Mystery to Me bookstore to offer a small bookcase of curated books, plus a few of Maitri’s picks. Maitri says they’ll have weekly story times, book clubs and guest author event nights in the renovated space, which reopened in early July. A portion of the Bindery’s earnings will be donated to local nonprofits, says Maitri, who comes from a nonprofit background, having worked for the American Cancer Society. Bloom’s 1974 Volkswagen bus, which is used at private parties, weddings and markets, will now also be used to bring milk-and-cookie parties as a reward for successful reading initiatives.Middleton bakery reopens as Bloom Bindery

The menu: The Bindery offers an expanded menu of cookies, including Maitri’s favorite, the peanut butter chocolate chunk. The Middleton location (which has always offered many vegan, gluten-free and organic treats) will also have cookie whoopie pies, popsicles, ice cream cookie sandwiches and full-service coffee by Just Coffee, as well as other drinks, including WiscoPop.

The must-try: What’s better than a cookie? An ice cream cookie sandwich. Maitri uses Harmony Valley Farms’ organic strawberries for a house-made strawberry ice cream that makes the ice cream sandwich an irresistible summer treat.

The bottom line: We all knew Bloom Bake Shop and its owner were sweet, but now they’re even sweeter for wanting to play a bigger part in the community. Around 55,000 adults in Dane County struggle with low literacy. “And that’s a trickle-down effect,” says Maitri. “So if we can arm them with resources … it’s only going to impact our youth coming up. That’s only going to make our community better.”

1834 Parmenter St., Middleton, 831-5797

Andrea Behling is managing editor of Madison Magazine.