Asking questions is one of the best ways to learn something. Sometimes we ask questions to learn more about a particular topic or a particular person. Questions are an easy way to gain insight into how things work, what makes people tick and why things are they way they are. Personally, I’m a big fan of questions. Since we’ve been in the baking business for more than 35 years, we’ve fielded a lot of questions about the history of our bakery, baking tips and overall advice for a small business.

We thought it’d be fun to share some of the questions we get asked again and again. Perhaps you’ll learn something new about us.

Who is Ashley?
This bakery is our family business and Ashley is our oldest daughter. When we opened our doors 37 years ago, I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with her so it just seemed like a natural, perfect choice for our name.

What time do you begin baking?
You’ve probably heard the saying “It’s time to make the donuts!” Well, that starts at midnight. We bake through the night while most of the world sleeps so when our doors open at 7am our cases are full of fresh bakery goods for you to enjoy. But we don’t stop there. We continue baking throughout the day so the aroma of deliciousness greets you when you open our doors.

How do you come up with your product ideas?
We get inspiration and ideas from a lot of places. We travel to different bakeries and specialty shops across the country. We see what is hot in those markets and then we get to baking. We add our touches to make it unique to Ashley’s and the Midwest. I LOVE Food Network, cake shows and cooking channels. I also watch a lot of videos about product trends. And I LOVE a great cookbook and subscribe to many magazines. I still like to turn the pages of a tangible book or magazine.

What is the best part of your day?
The great people we work with, the customers we bake memories with and the wonderful partnerships we have formed throughout the years in the Dayton community.

What is your favorite bakery item?
Hands down…warm bread fresh out of the oven served with butter.

What advice do you have for someone interested in baking?
Have a passion for the industry and expose yourself to all aspects of it: baking, research, cake decorating, sales. This industry is loaded with opportunities. Be willing to take classes and visit other bakeries to gain knowledge and get ideas. Engage in conversation with bakery owners. You’ll find most are willing to share advice and tips.

What do you want to know about Ashley’s Pastries? You ask and we’ll answer! Drop your question in the comments section.