Avalon International Breads, the famed Cass Corridor organic bakery, is opening a downtown store at the corner of Woodward and State.

The “Hearth and Soul” cafe will be on the ground floor of a Dan Gilbert-owned property at 1049 Woodward. The 2,900-square-foot store will feature Avalon’s signature artisan breads and pastries, as well as an expanded breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.

“This is the perfect way to mark the beginning of a new chapter in Avalon’s history,” said Jackie Victor, who co-founded the business in 1997.

The news came as Avalon unveiled a 45-pound stollen wreath, a cake-like German holiday bread filled with fruits and spices, at 1001 Woodward across from Campus Martius park. The Woodward skyscraper is among the dozens of prime downtown properties controlled by Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services. Gilbert is founder of Quicken Loans Inc., the nation’s largest online lender that’s also headquartered downtown.

Bedrock continues to attract a mix of highly-regarded local businesses and international brands and the occasional celebrity retailer downtown. Earlier this week, the actor/entrepreneur Mark Wahlberg said he is working with Dan Gilbert to bring his family’s Wahlburgers restaurant to Greektown. Nike Inc. plans to open a two-level, 22,000-square-foot store in former Woolworth’s at 1261 Woodward.

Bedrock controls more than 80 properties, over 13 million square feet of commercial and residential real estate and 17,000-plus parking spaces downtown.

Avalon was started by Jackie Victor and Ann Perrault, setting up shop at 422 West Willis, where it remains. Now it’s part of a neighborhood where lofts can sell for $300,000 or more and the musician Jack White just opened a new store and vinyl-pressing plant. The area has been rebranded as Midtown. When Avalon opened, it was still called Cass Corridor and it was an area many avoided.

Founders Victor and Perrault are committed to social responsibility — guided by their Buddhist beliefs.

The small business pays workers a “living wage” — pay above market rates — and offers extensive health care benefits that are usually not provided by other small employers.

In 2013, it opened a 50,000-square-foot baking facility on Detroit’s east side. Avalon is a supplier of baked goods for the Whole Foods Midtown store.

Twitter: LouisAguilar_DN

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