Since its opening in May of 2019, Kingstonians have fallen in sweet love with the Local Artisan Bakery. “As a gluten free dessert-aholic, I keep my eye out for the best alternatives to traditional (especially chocolate) favorites,” writes a fan on Google. “Karianna’s gluten free brownies have a chewy decadent texture and her raspberry chocolate torte with a thick gooey glaze and dusting of coconut on top will Blow Your Mind!”
Karianna is Karianna Haasch, a self-taught baker whose first batch of cookies came out of a farmhouse oven in rural Wisconsin when she was about 5. “My mom would let me use her cookbook and mix the dough on my own, then she would put it in the oven for me,” she recalls.
Karianna graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, then earned her Master’s in International Business Management from Durham University Business School in 2013. Back in New York, she worked marketing jobs. (Coincidentally, a marketing colleague from Durham describes her as a “smart cookie” on LinkedIn.) But the ingredients that would eventually formulate her own business were already in the mixing bowl.
“I vividly remember a conversation I had with a friend about 12 years ago,” she says. “I said, ‘Why does the concept of a bakery and gift shop not exist?’ It makes so much sense to me—people come in to pick up sweets for a birthday or other special occasion, of course they would love to be able to pick up a gift and a card at the same spot! Yet, I have never encountered a place quite like that before. So I created it in my mind.
“Fast-forward to recent years, and I am baking in my free time after work, sharing my goods with coworkers, family, and friends. For years, people have been saying to me, ‘This is so good, you should open a bakery.’ So I decided to create the place in my mind. And today it looks exactly how I envisioned it 12 years ago.”
“You come to Local Artisan Bakery when you want a very special experience that you can’t find anywhere else in Kingston.”
“Our focus is on collaborating with local farmers, food producers, makers, and artists.”
–Karianna Haasch, owner
That look is crisp, warm, and airy, with wide wooden floorboards and plenty of natural light, in the center of Kingston’s emergent Midtown Arts District. “I’ve lived in the Kingston area for over 10 years, so there was no question that I wanted to open the brick-and-mortar in the area,” Karianna says. “I chose Midtown because it’s the arts district of Kingston and, since we are all about celebrating the art of baking and appreciating all things local, it made sense to be in the heart of the creative scene. When I found our location, I knew immediately that it was perfect for the space I wanted to create. It already had a kitchen set up, and it had a large enough retail space to house our Local Artisan Gift Collective.”
Gift products from the collective of over 20 local makers include jewelry, books, home goods, skin care, ceramics, and more; you’ll absolutely find something for that Person Who Has Everything. And the baked goods, as well, whether sweet or savory, showcase the Hudson Valley’s locally grown goodness. “We really mean it when we say ‘local;’ there’s a reason it’s in our business name,” says Karianna. “Our focus is on collaborating with local farmers, food producers, makers, and artists. As a food producer/gift shop, there is a great responsibility on our shoulders to make wise choices with our sourcing practices. We source locally, so when you spend $1 with us, at least 80% of that dollar goes back into our Hudson Valley community.
This means that when we grow, other local businesses and community programs can grow, too.” Local Artisan Bakery donates regularly to local nonprofits such as People’s Place and the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.
Karianna’s marketing chops blend nicely with her culinary talents, and the combination regularly wins raves. “We offer new flavors every week, so our customers get excited about finding new items on the menu every time they visit our store,” she says. “But, of course, you can always custom order your favorite goods if they aren’t on the menu that week! And we also take quality very seriously. Our high standards are evident in the taste of what we create. Our customers value quality and place importance on supporting local businesses. They want to treat themselves and their loved ones to special, one-of-a-kind experiences.”
She’d love to help you celebrate with a Local Artisan cake in your favorite flavor—but don’t ask her to write “Happy Birthday” on it. “We bake custom cakes fresh to-order, and we don’t write on cakes,” Karianna explains. “I hate writing on cakes—it detracts from the beauty of the cake! Unlike most bakeries, every single cake we create is one-of-a-kind. We decorate them in our own signature artistic style. We always recommend adding a fresh flower arrangement on top if you’d like it to be extra special; we work with a local florist to offer this. And instead of writing on the cake, we have beautiful hand-illustrated cards (by a Hudson Valley designer, of course) that are perfect for conveying your message.”
Just as the name suggests, there’s nothing cookie-cutter about this bake shop. “I keep things creative. Offering new flavors every week means I’m constantly experimenting with new recipes and flexing my creativity,” says Karianna. “We often get requests to bake things that no other bakery offers, and that makes a fun challenge. We also have an amazing team—we laugh a lot and keep things fun and lighthearted at work.”
“We often get requests to bake things that no other bakery offers, and that makes a fun challenge. We also have an amazing team—we laugh a lot and keep things fun and lighthearted at work.” After weathering pandemic closure by offering pickup at farmer’s markets and delivery, Local Artisan Bakery has reopened for retail with state-of-the-art safety precautions in place. And Karianna’s commitment to her entrepreneurial dream has only strengthened. “Our business provides jobs for local folks—we support local farmers when we purchase ingredients, and we provide a retail platform for local artisans to sell their wares. I’m offering something that no one else can offer. Because it’s my vision, my creativity, and my execution. I create something new out of nothing every day, and the whole community benefits. It’s really rewarding.
“Especially these days, when the world feels like a really difficult place, it means a lot to be able to bring people joy with delicious baked goods and carefully curated gifts.... No one else does quite what we do. You come to Local Artisan Bakery when you want a very special experience that you can’t find anywhere else in Kingston.”
Local Artisan Bakery
448 Broadway, Kingston