Some say Clark County’s newest bakery shares its historic home with ghostly beings
For years, Monica Kersey had a dream.
In her dream, she owned a bakery. “This was my vision for what I wanted my bakery to be, I wanted it in a turn of the century house,” she described. “And I wanted it to have a very comfy-cozy feeling where people from the community can come in and sit down and just enjoy a conversation. I had this vision of how I wanted it to be.”
Last February, Monica and her husband Jason made Monica’s dream a reality. Located in the historic Padden House on Northeast 78th Street in Vancouver, Chandelier Bakery is a warm, inviting space where visitors are surrounded by scrumptious goodies and mouth-watering smells.
“I’ve always said that when I’m baking I’m in my happy place,” said Monica. “When my kids were younger I did a lot of baking and I felt fulfilled. As the kids got older and into school I did a home daycare and I always had treats available when people came over. My husband would complain about his waistline, but I don’t think he really minded that much.”
As vivid as it was in her mind, Monica’s dream of opening a bakery was in danger of dying just a few short years ago. Her son Jonah remembers his mom was stuck in a job she didn’t enjoy, and she felt trapped. “She wasn’t sure what to do. Then she just kind of took control of her life and made her dream come true. This is a dream she’s had since I was a little kid. And she made it a reality.”
Initially, Monica and Jason targeted existing bakeries in the area to take over. Then, a friend of their youngest son Cameron suggested they look at the Padden House, which had recently become available. “So we jumped on it,” recalled Monica, “and just didn’t look back.”
Problem was, the 100-year-old farmhouse wasn’t exactly ready to be a bakery. Clark County required the Kerseys to install a commercial hood in the kitchen and build a fire escape off the upper floor. Months of construction and TLC later, the Chandelier Bakery opened to the public on February 10, 2018.
“The first month really accelerated very quickly,” said Monica. “Then it tapered, which was good because it allowed us to catch our breath and improve on things. Now we’re pretty steady. People are starting to know that we’re here.”
As you might expect, the menu features plenty of scratch baked goods, including professional cakes, cookies, and cupcakes; plus breakfast and lunch items like biscuits & gravy, and panini sandwiches. “Healthy items too,” Monica explained, “so people who are concerned about eating at a bakery with all the sugar and fatty items, they have some healthy options.” Looking for a new cup of joe? Chandelier Bakery is the only establishment in Clark County serving Valhalla Coffee.
Not only is the bakery a labor of love, it’s also a family affair. “Jonah works at our front counter for the morning shift. And Cameron does dishes and does some of the cleaning.” In addition to the boys, Monica’s parents, brother, and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and family friends all work there.
For his part, Monica’s husband Jason manages the company website and social media pages and handles a lot of the grocery shopping. “I have to give him credit,” Monica said with a smile. “The quiche is his creation. He probably spent 6 months developing the perfect quiche recipe.”
Even after business hours, it appears the Kersey family is far from alone in the old house. Several people have witnessed paranormal activity, and the reports are pretty vivid. Most “sightings” involve a small girl in her pajamas, sometimes holding or bouncing a ball. Sometimes a child’s voice is heard. Doors will slam shut unexpectedly.
“It’s never happened to me,” Monica admitted. The most vivid account? “My brother is visually impaired so he’s not able to see very well. My mom was directing my brother to go around to the side of the house. The entry into the basement area is very narrow when you come in the side door. He stumbled into her and they both started to fall. She felt like something pushed her to keep her from falling.”
Whomever or whatever it is, “they’re peaceful. I don’t feel like there’s anything threatening,” said Monica. “They’re helpful if anything. They probably prevented my mom and brother from falling.”
Living, or beyond, the Chandelier Bakery appreciates all who visit. “We’re happy to be here and we’re very thankful for all the support we’ve gotten from the community,” said Monica. “That’s the greatest thing about being here.”