Lakeland bread maker follows dream, opens new store

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A dream in her sleep two months ago was all the push a Lakeland entrepreneur needed to make sure her new business was open by Christmas.

At 28 years old, Jennifer Smurr is far beyond her years in the wisdom department. “It’s so simple, but it brings people together,” Smurr said of bread.

Perhaps that’s what you need for the kind of undertaking she’s signed onto. “We got our CO on December 15th, which gave me 9 days to make sure the equipment was running,” Smurr said. She smiled, talking about her new storefront, Born and Bread Bakehouse on Florida Avenue.

Smurr spent time in the fashion industry – modeling – but she felt she needed something more. “I had all these friends, super passionate about life and that’s contagious,” she said.

Jennifer Smurr

A trip after her wedding vows two years ago was the place her passion was born. “We went to Europe. I had real bread for the first time,” she said.

That passion has been rising high ever since. Smurr signed onto Catapult in Lakeland – a place designed to help entrepreneurs get on their feet.

Then she spent three months at a Miami bakery, working full time for no pay. She just tried to learn everything she could about the art of bread.

It paid off.

Now it’s like Black Friday every Saturday morning at the Lakeland farmers market for the people who line up for Smurr’s cruffins (part croissant – part muffin).

And then she announced Born and Bread Bakehouse – her very own kitchen. It opened on Christmas Eve at 7 a.m.

The first person in line arrived at 4:30. Dozens were behind him.

“I had to turn around and walk away so people wouldn’t see me crying,” Smurr said. She sold out fast.

It may seem like an odd time to open the doors – but in the business of breaking bread, it made perfect sense to the baker who had a dream. “I saw everyone happy and they were cheerful and they were with their family breaking bread and it was my loaf,” she said of her dream.

Smurr will continue selling her goods at the market.  In 2016 she will take special orders from her new store. One day, she hopes to have it in regular operation.

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