Located just off the square, next to the Brew on East Main St., Square Books Round Cookies is one part bakery and two parts bookstore, but it is wholly the embodiment of the Manchester small-business mindset.
“We felt like the heart of Manchester [is the square],” said proprietor Rita Munn. “When this building opened, we were elated. It’s perfect for our needs.”
Munn says, “Our passion when we opened …was to promote small businesses in Manchester.”
On the well-dressed shelves, you will find local books (some by local authors, other nationally-known titles on consignment), plants and herbs from a local greenhouse and other fresh items from a local farmers’ market.
Munn who runs the shop with her college-aged daughters, started Doorstep Bakery from her home as a way to share her love of cooking with the daughters.
The bakery flourished with weekly deliveries and booths at area farmers’ markets offering a near-famous French rustic sourdough, until the women’s dream of a storefront on the square was reached.
“My daughters…sold cookies all around town. They wanted to do a little more, so we open this storefront,” Munn said.
The daughters plan to bike their cookies and bread daily to businesses on the square.
The domestic kitchen will be moved onsite.
Munn’s daughter, Laura, handles the cookies; Maria bakes the bread.
It’s a clean label, meaning they only use all-natural ingredients and no preservatives.
The herbs for the herbed breads are organic and grown at Dogwood Valley Greenhouse, in Hillsboro. All their breads, are made with “wild,” non-commercial sourdough starter, flour, water and a bit of salt.
The beauty is the process. It turns what could have been generic off-the shelf bread into a masterpiece.
At the core of the process is the long, slow rise. The dough’s initial refrigeration allows the yeast to slowdown and the starter’s natural enzymes to work their magic to create the bread’s signature complex flavor.
One of the team’s favorite bread, is a breakfast loaf, with toasted walnuts and cinnamon.
Laura Munn bakes fresh cookies everyday in three varieties, oatmeal cran-raisin with white chocolate, chocolate chip and peanut butter.
She is perfecting gluten free cookies for the menu.
“Plus we love books, so we’re taking books on consignment,” said Rita Munn.
“We are very passionate about promoting authors here in Manchester, and want this to be a place where people can come and find good books to read drop off books for others to read.”
Local author Honor Raconteur will hold a book signing from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on April 6 at Square Books. She writes fantasy and has sold over 20,000 copies of her books.
According to Dogwood Valley Greenhouse’s website, the grower “specializes in the growing and retail sales of flowering and foliage perennials for sun and shade, hanging baskets…herbs for culinary and decorative purposes, and decorative plants.”
Manchester Locally Grown Market, a sort of local Amazon.com, is an online marketplace. Customers browse local producers’ goods (ranging from fresh eggs to produce to homemade hand sanitizer) and purchase items to pickup weekly at the store.
For more information about the market, go to http://manchester.locallygrown.net. Dogwood Valley Greenhouse is online at http://dogwoodvalleygreenhouse.weebly.
Square Books Round Cookies is located at 113 East Main Street. Hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, call 728-5043.