Handmade: Breads & Threads evokes 'a trip down memory lane'
Linette Ramos de Soto is many things: a wife, mother, baker, writer, crocheter, farmer, canner, someone who works with special needs children and adults, and last but not least, a successful entrepreneur.
Ramos de Soto had been the owner of Breads & Threads, a shop offering all things handmade by local crafters, which she opened in 2013 at Canterbury Village in Grand Blanc. But when the major store attraction closed its doors, things took a downward turn for many of the smaller businesses.
"After they sold that building, it just wasn't the same anymore," said the Grand Blanc resident, "so, I decided to close, take a break and write a book -- a collection of short stories about adventures on the farm as a woman farmer. It's a little bit of everything," she said. "Ramblings of a Chicken Lady" (Ingram Publishing Covenant Books) is set to be released at the end of April, and will be available at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, on Amazon and iTunes.
Last November, Ramos de Soto, 43, reopened Breads & Threads, as a holiday pop-up shop inside Courtland Center Mall (4190 East Court) in Burton. However, as luck would have it, there was an overwhelming demand for her to keep the store open, so with so much support, she's kept the business going.
Although the merchandise in the store is made by different vendors, everything is arranged by item to create a "boutique-ish feel." Ramos de Soto said, "We keep (the work of) 10 vendors at a time, and every three months, we have a turnover -- some leave and some decide to stay. Each vendor pays a vendor fee."
Business has been "pretty good" because, as history repeats itself, there's been a growing demand for custom and handmade items. "I think people are wanting to go back to basics -- a simpler lifestyle. We're now more committed to buying locally. People are establishing their own economy right down the street, and that's a huge draw," explained Ramos de Soto.
People of all ages frequent the shop, which stocks a wide selection, including many that may bring back childhood memories for some, like fancy crocheted doilies, curtains and christening gowns, all made by the owner herself. "I work mostly with thread crochet. I do a lot of the crocheting that people don't get into anymore," she said.
Also available are children's clothing, natural products, soaps, hand-painted journals, home accents, paintings, doggie treats, and more.
And, as the name Breads & Threads suggest, the business is about more than selling needlework and other crafts. As a baker, Ramos de Soto prepares baked goods at home to sell in the shop. "We're looking to expand into a different space here in the mall, where we'll be able to bake on sight."
Among the homemade treats are breads, old-fashioned doughnuts and breakfast bars. "We do different kinds of zuchinni bread (ooh!), Amish, buttermilk and banana nut (yum!), which along with the doughnuts are the two most popular. Prices range from $1 for a donut to $6 for a 1-pound loaf of bread. And, while she doesn't sell coffee or tea, she said, coffee is available elsewhere in the mall, and there are tables set up in the food court.
Hours of operation for Breads & Threads are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon., Tues., and Thurs.-Sat. It's closed Wed. and Sun.
A self-described "pioneer woman," Ramos de Soto is also a busy mother of five -- two of whom are girls with special needs, one born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate (age 25, and a graduate of Western Michigan University), and the other with Mosaic Down Syndrome, (age 13, and a recent inductee into the National Honor Society).
She and her husband, Ramon, who works in the automotive industry, and another family, will once again host a Special Needs Easter Egg Hunt on April 20 from 2-4 p.m. at New Life Christian Fellowship Church (2237 Reid) in Grand Blanc. There's no age limit, so special needs adults are welcome to participate, as well. Candy donations can be dropped off at Breads & Threads.
Ramos de Soto is without a doubt one amazing woman.
Detroit News columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, email@example.com or facebook.com/DetroitNewsHandmade.
Contact Breads & Threads ( 4190 East Court, inside Courtland Center Mall, Burton) at 248 494-3880. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.