Little did Rachel Collett know when she and husband Randy moved into the second floor of the Wheeler building in downtown Marion that one day it would take just a few steps for her to get to work.
Her bakery, CB Baked Goods, opened Tuesday on the building’s first floor, featuring “Bierocks, bolsos, and more.”
Bierocks are familiar treats for county residents. Bolsos are made from the same handmade dough as Collett’s bierocks but have different fillings. Ham and cheese, Mexican chicken, and sausage egg and cheese are among the varieties Collett has dreamed up so far.
Collett said her daughter, Maggie, came up with the name.
“At first I was just going to call them meat pockets,” Collett said. “My daughter said, ‘Oh, Mom, that sounds awful!’ She started searching for words and came up with bolso, which is Spanish for purse or pocket.”
Collett developed a following for her bierocks last summer by selling them at the farmers market in Central Park. However, if not for softball and romance, the central Missouri native might never have discovered them.
As a child, she was Rachel Muenks of Loose Creek, population 400, whose “typical farm wife” mother baked bread, pies, and other desserts.
When she got out of high school, she moved to Jefferson City, where she worked for Westinghouse and played on a co-ed softball team.
On a night when the team was one short of the required number of guys, one of Rachel’s teammates had a solution. He had a friend who worked for AT&T, Randy Collett, who would fill in.
“The rest is history; back in May we had our 30th wedding anniversary,” Rachel said.
She didn’t know what a bierock was until Randy’s mother gave her a recipe. At first she had mixed success.
“They were all weird sizes and shapes,” she said. “I tried different recipes and would make a few here and there for the family, and that was it.”
Retirement and leisure was the plan when the couple moved to Marion in August 2014. She enrolled in a bierock cooking class that fall, and the instructor changed her outlook.
“She gave out all her recipes,” Collett said. “She told us how she formed them; she was very precise. I brought her recipe back home and tried it, and they all turned out so pretty. It’s a whole different process.”
While substitute teaching for Marion-Florence and Centre, Collett parlayed her farmers markets sales into a cadre of about 25 regular customers who kept her busy making bierocks and cinnamon rolls.
She got serious about starting a bakery when Randy gave up retirement to become Marion’s economic development director in February.
“I thought, ‘He’s going to be working 40 hours a week again, so that kind of puts the kibosh on travel any time we want to go,’” she said. “I thought I might as well jump in.”
Collett said she chose the bakery’s name as a nod to the man who built the building.
“We wanted to dedicate it back to C.B. Wheeler,” she said. “We wanted to link it to this old building. We hope that he’d be proud.”
Pictures of C.B. Wheeler, provided by his step-granddaughter, Lenore Dieter, reinforce the theme.
Along with bierocks and bolsos, cinnamon rolls and cookies will be featured, and other items may be added as Collett sees how much she can produce.
“Maybe I’m going into this with blinders on or rose-colored glasses, but I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to bake enough to keep up,” she said.
Customers will be able to get breakfast and lunch specials to go, and Collett said she may have a “coffee of the day” available.
CB Baked Goods will be open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Collett is planning a grand opening later in the month.