A Sweet Mompreneur: Q&A with Joann Leo of Pastel Bakery

Poway recently welcomed Pastel Bakery, located at 12205 Scripps Poway Parkway. The bakery’s treats range from the Berries and Milk made with Carlsbad strawberries and Bavarian cream to California’s staple, Tres Leches, to the elegant Tiramisu. All baked goods are made with eggs purchased from farmers at various local farmer’s markets. Pastel Bakery’s Grand Opening is taking place on Saturday, May 20 from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. with live music, cookie decorating, samples, and a cupcake eating contest. Proceeds from the Grand Opening will benefit the nonprofit organization Ride Above Disability Therapeutic Riding Center.  Mompreneur and owner of Pastel Bakery, Joann Leo, apprenticed under a Cordon Blue pastry chef, worked with celebrity chefs, and now has pursued her passion for baking to open Pastel Bakery.  (c) Maureen Fritts Photography Tell us about your new endeavor, Pastel Bakery.Joann: We’re a local family bakery located in Poway. We love to bake sweet and savory treats made from quality ingredients and we cater to a variety of customers—foodies, folks that want to satisfy a sweet tooth, parents taking their children out for a treat and customers interested in ordering a special occasion customized cake. Poway and Scripps Ranch are great places to raise families. Is this why you chose to open your bakery here?Joann: My husband and I have lived in Scripps Ranch since we were married and noticed that there was a void in terms of bakery offerings. Prior to us the only bakery options were Vons, Costco, Target, and other big box retailers. I felt that a more natural and organic option was needed and this was something I could contribute to the community I live in.  Tell us about juggling opening a business and being a mother.Joann: It’s all in a day’s work. I think that most moms can relate to how difficult it is to juggle all the kids, events, sport schedules, etc. My journey as a mother has been a tremendous help in this regard. Owning a small business requires wearing a lot of hats and I feel that motherhood prepared and fortified me for this challenge. My kids love this business and feel ownership of this enterprise which has been a gift. My 13-year-old daughter designed our t-shirts and my son is a marketing machine. I won’t lie, adding another component to the myriad of balls already in the air is not an easy task, but with my kids grabbing a ball or two it’s been a lot easier.  I saw a shirt that said “Bae” Blessed and Exhausted… and that’s exactly how I feel. I’m blessed to have the opportunity and ability to open this bakery. I feel blessed to have such an awesome family behind me. I feel blessed to have friends and neighbors support… “BAE” What have you learned along the way?Joann: I’ve been raised to believe that I can do anything I set my mind to. This process has taught me that there are limitations to that statement—somethings are only possible with a prayer. I also learned that family and community are such an important aspect to one’s life. It’s truly heartwarming to know that there are people rallying behind you. Even now, we’ve got customers crusading on our behalf. We love serving this community. How do you find balance with your kids after Pastel closes?Joann: After we close our doors at 7 p.m., I head home and spend a few hours making dinner and hanging with the kids. It’s been a little frenetic and our lifestyle has changed a bit from when I was a stay at home mom, but my kids understand it’s only for a season and eventually we will find a new normal. My family time is sacred, and although the bakery has kept me busy, it has allowed me the flexibility to take a few hours to spend with the kids doing homework or catching a movie. Any specials for Mother’s Day?Joann:I’m so glad you asked! We’ve got chocolate champagne strawberries, fruit tarts, cookie platters and some flowers for their special day. Nothing like a one stop shop for Mother’s Day! Your grand opening is the weekend after Mother’s Day. What can we expect?Joann: Yes, our grand opening is taking place on Saturday, May 20 from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the bakery. We’ve got live music, cookie decorating, samples, tons of food, specials on cakes and cookies. We will also be having a cupcake eating contest which we hope to be a riot. Proceeds from our grand opening will benefit the nonprofit organization, Ride Above Disability Therapeutic Riding Center. Come with a sweet tooth! Many of our readers are located south of Poway and Scripps Ranch. Tell us why they should make the trip north.Joann: Our bakery is worth the trip for those coming from San Diego. We’re so confident in that that we promise those that mention “Eat Drink Be SD” will get 15 percent off their entire order. (c) Maureen Fritts Photography 

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