Local bread baker perseveres, launches business amid pandemic

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — With a dream and a love for cooking, Cody Scogin is hoping his humble start will help change the food scene in central Illinois.

“Started off with about 45 loaves out of my home kitchen and continued to sell out.”

cody scogin

With the help of the Illinois Cottage Foods Law, the Mackinaw native was able to launch Ardor Breads and Provisions—baking bread out of his home and selling it at the Peoria Riverfront Market.

“I think I’ve always wanted my own business. I actually went to college for business marketing and then I kind of got into cooking. I fell in love with the craftsmanship and I always enjoyed good food,” he said.

Today, Scogin has expanded to a brick and mortar shop in downtown Peoria. He’s just yards from where he got his start at the Peoria Riverfront Market.

“It’s fate. I mean really to look back on it, there was no plan. There was no plan to become a baker. You know I worked as a chef the last nine, 10 years,” said Scogin.

But just as he was preparing to open, COVID-19 and the state’s stay at home order had other plans.

He said, “The space was finished. We already had some flour in here. I had a staff ready to hire. You know the utilities, the bills were all in place and we were stuck.”

With Ardor Breads and Provisions temporarily closed, Scogin got creative. He started doing social media cooking demos to pass the time and promote the brand. On May 3, he got the green light to reopen.

Scogin said, “Yeah, there’s absolutely concerns. Nobody knows what the light at the end of the tunnel looks like or how we’re going to get through this. I’m very optimistic that there’s going to be good that comes from this. I think that’s how it has to be.”

He said the community support has been more than he ever could have anticipated.

“We knew we were forced into a soft opening anyway, so we just went with it and it wasn’t soft. That first Sunday I mean the line was down the street and we sold out in about three hours,” said Scogin.

For now, Ardor Breads and Provisions is only partially open offering fresh bread, pastries, and grab and go coffee. The dining cafe will have to wait. But Scogin says he’s looking on the bright side.

“So I think to me it’s like yes, this is a very difficult time. But maybe we can actually blossom at this time. Maybe this is a good time for an establishment such as us to kind of come to life and show like this is the future of food,” he said.

Ardor Breads and Provisions is located at 301 Southwest Water Street in Peoria.

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