Forest Fairy Bakery opens on Issaquah's Front Street
By KEVIN ENDEJAN
Issaquah Reporter Assistant editor
January 17, 2013 · 10:08 AM
Linda Hays has baked as long as she can remember.
At age 7, she started using her parent’s oven.
At age 16, she baked loaves of bread for fun and sold them to anyone willing to make a purchase.
But it wasn’t until 12 years ago, sitting in a classroom at Green River Community College, her business idea, and passion, was born.
“I was assigned to do scientific research and I chose hydrogenated oil because I didn’t know what it was,” Hays said. “I started to do research and I realized how bad it was and it’s in a lot of our foods.”
Hays took her newly-gained knowledge and put it to use, baking all natural products and selling them at area farmers markets — all with the ultimate goal of one day opening her own storefront.
A decade later, the dream became a reality for Hays, who on Monday, opened Forest Fairy Bakery on Issaquah’s Front Street.
“It was a process,” said Hays, noting her father, a 40-year resident of the Pine Lake neighborhood, found the location three years ago.
It’s no mistake her dad played a role in finding a home for the store. In fact, Forest Fairy Bakery is the definition of family-owned business. All five of Linda’s children — four girls and one boy, ranging from age 11 to 26 — help operate the bakery. Her mother, Shirley and father, Ray, a self-described “handyman” and “gopher,” keep things running smoothly.
However, that’s not where family ends. Many of the recipes have been in the Hays’ cookbook for decades — now done with just a few modifications. There are no hydrogenated oils or preservatives, meaning only ingredients like real butter and olive oil are used.
“It’s all natural and from scratch,” Linda said. “We try to use local stores ingredients whenever we can.”
Forest Fairy offers up a wide array of items, ranging from yeast breads, to cookies and cakes, to granola. The bakery also sells C-Squared, or C2 organic home-roasted coffee. The product is made by Tacoma resident Christine Cheng, a friend Linda met on the farmers market circuit.
While the goods themselves are unique, the biggest question Linda encounters revolves around the bakery’s name. The answer is quite simple. A few years ago, she met with her four daughters, getting their input on what the business should be called. They all stuck to one similar topic — fairies.
“We all like mythical things and we knew the kids would like it,” said Linnette, 19.
Anyone stepping into the location and 485 North Front St. will know immediately they’re in the right place. One wall is entirely covered in a forest mural, while the other has painted fairy plaques representing all of Linda’s kids — Nik (26), Emily (24), Linnette (19), Elaina (17) and Lena (11). The girls also wear fairy wings as part of their uniforms.
A 1974 graduate of Issaquah High School, Linda remembers the days when there used to be a bakery downtown. She said she’s proud to bring one back to the community. And while only open for a few days, Linda is optimistic about her business being a hit — especially with the carry over of farmers market customers.
“We’ve had people come in here and say we’re so glad you’re open now because they haven’t been able to get the products in the winter,” she said.
GIVE IT A TASTE
Forest Fairy Bakery
485 N. Front Street, Issaquah
The Hays family opened Forest Fairy Bakery in Issaquah on Monday. Back row, left to right are Nik, Ray and Emily. Front row, left to right are Lena, Linnette, Linda and Shirley.
Linda Hays prepares sticky buns at Forest Fairy Bakery on Issaquah's Front Street.