Meet the owners of The BonBonerie Mary Pat Pace and Sharon Butler.
It seems impossible to summarize thirty seven years of not only owning a business, but also being with the same partner, but this is the simple truth.
The following ideas have remained intrinsic to what we have created at the BonBonerie.
#1. The pastry we create must be beautiful and delicious.
#2. Treat customers and staff as you would like to be treated.
#3. Art matters in the experience of space we created and causes we embrace
#4. A balanced life is essential for our idea of success. That means melding family life, joy in the work and time for outside enrichment.
#5. Engagement with our community is mandatory
#6. “Live and Learn” is a philosophy that made it possible for each of us to make mistakes so we could be more successful in the future. We still say it regularly.
#7. Luck plays a roll in every endeavor . We have been very very lucky.
#8. “Location location location” Who knew a shop on a one way street in an offbeat neighborhood could be such a perfect location?
Mary Pat's recollection....
Ever since I can remember I have loved sweets. Candy, cakes, cookies, popsicles,Ice cream, soft drinks….anything with sugar! I remember in my youth walking to the Hyde Park Square after school or in the summer with a neighborhood friend and going to either the 2 bakeries, the penny candy stores , the pharmacies stocked with candy, the soda fountains and of course Graeters. They were all located there. It was a sugarholics dream! So I came to this profession honestly.
My grandmother was a great baker and her coconut cake I still can taste. I grew up in a time that had very few cake mixes…or I guess I wasn’t exposed to them. T.V. dinners had just come on the market! Summers as a child were quiet and unstructured. Mothers look for things to amuse us (this idea hasn’t changed much). The events included making cookies and cakes, making frosting, anything that included a lot of butter, sugar eggs, flour, and whatever ingredients the recipe called for, all put together. The true excitement was at the end seeing how much was left in the bowl to lick.
The food was simple and good- made with real ingredients and fresh fruits and vegetables. We waited for peaches, cherries, and corn till July, and the window for the freshness was narrow (we didn’t have Chile’s or Mexico’s fruit in January). We learned to do a lot of things with a bushel of tomatoes or apples. So it was natural to me when we started The BonBonerie in 1983 that real and fresh ingredients were not only very important but necessary. At that point the world was full of frozen dinners and premade breakfast foods. No one thought they had any time…potato buds and chicken McNuggets were the norm.
Another aside is I love to travel and New York City in the 80’s had so much to offer and was Nirvana to me. The food was incredible. The markets in China Town, The deli’s and bakeries in the city were all so beautiful and exciting and different from Cincinnati. I had an idea…… It was at that time I met Sharon who happened to be a sister of a colleague of mine. At the time I was working as a social worker. I talked incessantly about food to anyone who would listen, and my friend said, “why don’t you call my sister who is working as a pastry chef?” I did and the bond was instant. She had the same upbringing, same ideas about food and same goals about how to pursue the love of food, and luckily for me she had real knowledge of restaurant and food preparation. But in my opinion Sharon brought something intangible to this partnership….an artist view. Its easy to execute a recipe…the finesse is the hard part. She had a keen eye and a very discerning pallet. Both were quite sophisticated. She also had a drive for perfection that was unceasing (this particular characteristic drove me crazy at times) but I knew these qualities were necessary for success.
For the 33 years we have been in business, we have never stood still. Always tweaking recipes, finding and trying new ones, pushing for ideas that haven’t come to the mainstream, dumping things that don’t work or are out of style, and making sure the ingredients are the best. The investment of time and product while significant is truly worth it. Quality and service are paramount to both of us. I can’t finish without saying that our staff at the bakery is unbelievable. They add youth, new ideas, and an enthusiasm to what we do, and are propelling us into the future.