With demand rising, Highlands bakery moving to bigger space in Berkeley

Bakery Four typically sells out within an hour of opening on the weekends. (Photos courtesy of Bakery Four)

Shawn Bergin is tired of disappointing his bakery customers.

The owner of Bakery Four in the Highlands said, since opening in May, the operation usually sells out of its 250 pastries and a few dozen loaves of bread an hour after opening at 8 a.m. Friday through Sunday.

On mornings that aren’t freezing, people begin to line up outside the 350-square-foot store at 3217 W. 32nd Ave. around 7:30 a.m., ultimately wrapping around the block, Bergin said.

So, he’s moving into a 3,000-square-foot location at 4150 Tennyson St. in Berkeley and shooting for a June opening.

“I would love to be able to make enough right now to fill demand and allow everyone to try our products. But it’s just not possible, so I’m excited people won’t have to put in as much effort to get their hands on something in the new space,” Bergin said.

Bakery Four’s new space will be the only retail tenant located within Gateway Development’s new three-story hotel named The Berkeley Hotel, across the street from Cesar Chavez Park. The Denver-based developer originally planned to build condos, but as inventory for Airbnb dried up, founder Brooks Ferring said the company decided to make the change.

The Berkeley Hotel was completed this month after more than two years under construction and is targeting a March opening. It has 17 small units with full kitchens, washers and dryers.

Ferring visited the bakery a few months ago and, after seeing the crowd, he invited Bergin to check out the hotel’s ground floor.

“At that point, I had been looking for a couple of months because it’s been increasingly difficult as the lines get bigger each week,” Bergin said. “I make as much as I possibly can. But since everything ferments overnight, I only have so much fridge space and knew I needed more elbow room.”

Owner Shawn Bergin said the bakery’s morning buns are its most popular item.

When Bergin opened the original Highlands location with his wife Alex Urdanick in May, he signed a year-long lease. His lease for the Tennyson location is for more than five years.

Bakery Four’s larger shop will have 1,000 square feet of space for production, with the rest a lounge with a full coffee bar that’s shared with the hotel. Expanding the space will allow the bakery to add a new bread oven, convection ovens, more mixers and even a dry-goods section in the front.

“We’re going to be able to expand and offer the products I originally envisioned, so we’re projecting to do at least 100 loaves a day and 400 to 500 pastries a day,” Bergin said. “We’re going to double pastry production and quadruple bread production.”

More space also means more room for employees. Bergin is hoping to hire six employees with the move. He has been making the pastries and bread himself, while his wife helps him at the front of the house. The owner’s days are long, and he said it’s been difficult juggling the business side of the bakery and the baking itself.

“It will be a weight off of my shoulders for sure, but I am type A, so I’ll have to learn how to release some of that control,” he said.

The bakery owner plans to expand his hours to five days a week from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and add lunch items like grilled cheese and pizza to the menu. He’s also exploring selling at local farmers’ markets.

Bakery Four started in Bergin’s basement. After moving to Denver from Washington D.C. in 2019, he quit his job and started doing pop-ups, making a dozen loaves and around 30 pastries at home and selling them at SloHi Coffee. Those usually sold out within an hour and a half.

“I saw the trajectory and how fast the word was getting out, so I quickly realized I needed a small brick-and-mortar that’s manageable,” Bergin said. “As soon as we opened there was a line on the first day, and it’s been growing and growing ever since and has never stopped.”

 

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