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Army combat veteran opens new bakery during coronavirus pandemic

By ERIC SCHWARTZBERG | Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio | Published: May 9, 2020

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(Tribune News Service) — A new Butler County business aims to provide more than just good food to the local community.

Sarah Rieke recently opened The Mad Piper Bakery at 4176 Hamilton Cleves Road in Ross Twp. next door to The Auto Livery.

The new shop offers a drive-thru window for bakery items and breakfast sandwiches, coffee and more. That includes sausage, egg and cheese croissants and bacon, egg and cheese croissants, blueberry muffins topped with a cinnamon streusel, carrot cake muffins topped with cream cheese icing, yogurt cups and fresh fruit.

When the store opens to dine-in service May 21, Rieke, a pastry chef who trained at the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, will be adding more menu items, including creme fraiche cheesecake, traditional birthday cake, candies, chocolates and macarons. One of her cakes received a gold medal in last year's American Culinary Federation regional competition.

The bakery offers more than just food. It's also a gift shop with aprons, coffee mugs, hand towels and home decor and more.

"For our gifts, we basically wanted to be a one-stop shop," she said. "I'm a single mom and I've been the mom that's in line at the grocery that needed a cake, needed candles, needed plates and napkins, so we decided to offer all these for our customers.

"It's meant to cater to the busy, working family or working single mom, like myself."

Rieke is an Army veteran who served in the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky and served a one-year tour of duty in Iraq before coming home to be stationed at Fort Drum, New York. She said she wants Mad Piper Bakery to be "a positive light" for the entire community.

"With everything going on with COVID-19, you have massive amounts of unemployment, massive amounts of negativity and illness and we wanted to bring smiles to people's faces even if it's just one pastry at a time," she said.

Opening date had been set for March 23, but that was delayed until April 27 because of the pandemic. Rieke said that in the short time the business has been open, the community has been "extremely supportive."

"I couldn't be more thankful for them," she said. "They made it to where the first day, the line was wrapped down the street and out to (Ohio) 128, so the community's been awesome."

The community support of showing in inspiring ways. Each day since Mad Piper opened, there have been customers who have paid for people behind them, sometimes leaving as much as $50, Rieke said.

"We really love that, we're grateful for that and we want to keep that going, that 'pay-it-forward' attitude," she said.

Named after Rieke's daughters, Madison, 12, and Piper, 11, the bakery is open between 6 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday, hours that will be expanded eventually. Custom orders are available by appointment via madpiperbakery@gmail.com.

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