North Market Downtown Adds The Pastry Factory to its Lineup

Allyson Blackwell's bakery will fill the city market with the scents of French pastries, cakes and more.

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
Sweets from The Pastry Factory

The North Market is adding a new pastry and desserts vendor to its Spruce Street lineup, just one week after announcing the addition of another vendor, Willowbeez SoulVeg.

The Pastry Factory, owned by baker Allyson Blackwell, specializes in gourmet baked goods such as cupcakes, tarts, French pastries, cookies, cookie sandwiches, brownies, pies and cakes. It will take over the space previously occupied by chocolatier Coco Cat, across from Barrel & Boar.

Blackwell is still working on her menu, but she says that it will rotate regularly. (She'd get bored otherwise, she says.) Some of her favorite pastries in her repertoire include brioche dough creations such as babkas as well as laminated pastries such as croissants and Danishes. Gluten-free, vegan and other options will be available as well.

“It’s going to be a full operating bakery at the North Market. I know that smells are going to just get people’s mouths watering, which is always the best part of walking into a bakery,” she said in a phone interview. “I look forward to being able to set those sugar traps for customers.”

This will be the first permanent bakery location for Blackwell, who earned her culinary arts degree from Sullivan University in Kentucky. Her background in the culinary arts, experience in restaurant management as well retail management for Cheryl's Cookies are finally coalescing into her dream business. "As I've gotten older, I've realized I really would like to have my own little café, bakery spot. That's what got me to create my own business."

Encouraged by her eldest daughter, Blackwell founded The Pastry Factory in 2012 as a "less than part-time" bakery. While balancing a job and four kids, she started small—focusing on selling her baked goods at area farmers markets, namely the Easton Farmers Market.

"I try to create unique one-of-a-kind flavors that you can't find anywhere else," says Blackwell, who honed her creations with feedback from farmers market customers.

When the pandemic began and Blackwell was laid off last March from her position as café manager at Franklin Park Conservatory, she decided to make The Pastry Factory her full-time gig. That summer, her application to become a vendor at the North Market Farmers' Market was accepted, and she was able to be at the market every weekend.

"Not having a job, I was able to just focus 100 percent of my time into it for the first time ever," she says. Her customer base grew significantly, and then the market asked her to apply for a permanent spot. "It was like kismet," she says. "It just fell into place when it was supposed to fall into place."

Construction on The Pastry Factory's new stall will begin in the coming weeks, with plans to open this spring.

Allyson Blackwell, owner of The Pastry Factory