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Hard Work and Tight Knit Community Keeps Bakeshop in Clarendon Thriving 10 Years On

In some ways, Justin Stegall has a hard time recognizing his bakery — Bakeshop at 1025 N. Fillmore Street in Clarendon — today, given how it started.

When the shop opened, in 2010 during the middle of the Snowpocalypse, it was just him in the kitchen and a guy working in the front. Over the next ten years, that staff grew and each of them left their mark on the bakery. A tableau of printed pictures on wall is a silent testament to the years of memories.

This Sunday, Jan. 26, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Bakeshop will celebrate ten years in business with a community-oriented celebration. Bakeshop staff said they are planning to pass out cake and ice cream samples, along with cookies. The celebration will have a photo booth and — permit pending — a fire truck to entertain children could make an appearance, staff said.

The shop now operates in two locations, the original one in Clarendon and one at 100 E. Fairfax Street in Falls Church. Stegall said he has no immediate plans to open more, but he enjoyed the expansion and will do it again if the moment feels right.

Looking back on the last ten years, Stegall and his staff said it was a lot of long hours and difficult work that made the shop viable.

“I went into it thinking it would be a lot of fun, and it is, but it’s a lot of hard work,” said Alyson, an employee at Bakeshop. “You’re in the ovens, it’s hard work, and you’re carrying trays… You make all these delicious treats, but for the bakers, it’s a lot of hard work.”

As Sol Schott from Acme Pie on Columbia Pike could also attest, staff said the work involves working long, odd hours.

“Bakers get in really early,” Alyson said. “A large part of that is there are orders you have to bake for the day or people picking up cakes on the way to work. It’s early mornings and late nights.”

When Bakeshop opened during that blizzard, Stegall said one of the first orders was a couple for a cake, which he walked through the snow to deliver to them. The couple still comes into the shop, he said with pride.

(Bakeshop launched around the same time as ARLnow, which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, and our company’s paths have occasionally overlapped — like the time we ordered a cake decorated with a waving chalk body outline as a farewell present to an outgoing Arlington police spokeswoman.)

“I believe towns need these kinds of things,” Stegall said. “It gives Arlington a little community spot for the neighborhood, for kids and adults, for people that want to work there and bake. Now we constantly have a crew of awesome kids that come through, go to college, and come back.”

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