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Fairmont student donates goods

Above: Isabell Geiger poses with the items she recently donated to Heaven's Table.

FAIRMONT — Isabell Geiger’s passion for baking and helping others recently combined and led her to donate more than $300 of goods to Heaven’s Table Food Shelf.

The Fairmont High School senior shared she began baking with her grandma when she was young. But during the pandemic, and especially while under stay-at-home orders, Geiger’s baking hobby really took off.

“I didn’t have a lot to do, and I ended up baking because I was bored and then I’d drop it off at my friends’ houses,” Geiger said.

She began baking custom birthday cakes and taking other orders through her Facebook and Instagram pages. She named her business Little Greenhouse Bakery.

“Then I found out about the Fairmont Farmer’s Market. I ended up getting my cottage food license to be able to sell there,” Geiger said.

In mid-July, Geiger began selling goods at the market every weekend. She offered cinnamon rolls, cookies, bread, and muffins through late September.

Since then, she’s been doing cost breakdowns and creating spreadsheets, planning how much money she’ll be spending on supplies, and making in profit.

Geiger shared that her idea to give back came last month.

“I was in choir class over Zoom and everyone was talking about how they were doing and a few of my classmates were talking about how they were financially struggling. It hit a chord with me and I wanted to be able to help in some way,” she said.

Geiger said she was originally planning to drop off cookie boxes for her friends as Christmas gifts, but then she thought she could use her baking skills as a way to give back.

She decided to sell the boxes for $10. Each box came with a dozen cookies in six varieties. She planned to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to get groceries for the food shelf.

“I made a Google form and posted it on my Facebook and Instagram pages. I was originally going to sell 24, but I ended up having to cap it off at 48 because I physically can’t make more than 570 cookies in a weekend,” Geiger said, laughing.

She ended up making a net profit of $340 in sales from her cookie orders. Geiger said she was surprised at the number of people her post reached. She said both of her parents, Mackenzie and Steve, also shared the post.

“Over half of them were from people I didn’t know well. Obviously, they were people in our community, but not people I knew which was crazy,” Geiger said.

All of the cookies were delivered several days before Christmas. Then Geiger went and bought a variety of non-perishable food items as well as some hygiene items with the money she raised. On Dec. 23, she brought the food and items to Heaven’s Table Food Shelf.

Cinnamon rolls are her favorite thing to bake though she makes a variety of goods including cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, and bread.

“I like decorating, especially because I know how much people appreciate it,” Geiger said.

She works with a variety of flavor combinations and while she said vanilla and chocolate are always popular flavors, she works with different flavor combinations such as strawberry lemonade.

Geiger said she finds a lot of her recipes on Pinterest, but she usually tweaks the recipe by adding her own measurements and ingredients.

In addition to baking, Geiger is a busy student. She is a member of the speech team, participating and placing in past state tournaments. She’s in the band, choir, National Honor Society, and on the golf team. Geiger has also participated in both the fall musical and spring play.

As for future plans, Geiger said she renewed her cottage food license and plans to do the Farmer’s Market again this coming summer.

She was recently accepted to the University of St. Thomas where she plans to study entrepreneurship. While she thinks it would be fun to have a bakery someday, she would like to incorporate some meaningful practices into it.

“I would love to incorporate aspects of sustainability into my packaging. I do my best not to use plastic, most of it is cardboard or recycled,” she said.

Geiger’s Instagram page can be found on the site at greenhouse.bakery. She prefers to be emailed orders so that she can send an invoice back. Her email is littleghouse.bakery@gmail.com

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