The Baker’s Rhapsody co-owner joins Chamber board

Published 7:28 pm Thursday, February 10, 2022

DOWAGIAC — After seeing business at his downtown store boom during local events over the past few years, one local man has decided to join the organization which has aided the shop’s success.

Hector Rivas, co-owner of The Bakers Rhapsody, 144 S. Front St., joined the Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees this year, and is looking forward to having the opportunity to help the organization bring more people to the city.

“The bakery always participates in chamber events, so it was sort of a natural transition,” said Rivas, who runs The Baker’s Rhapsody with husband Jordan Anderson. “I wanted to join the board to help foster the events that help bring people to downtown.”

Rivas, 32, grew up in Arizona, and studied city planning at Arizona State University. He said he leaves most of the baking to Anderson, working more on the administrative side of the business. While he is new to the chamber, he is one of its younger members and said he hopes to bring some fresh ideas to the table once he gets his feet wet.

“Just a new perspective on things,” he said, of what he intends to contribute. “Joining the board is a new experience for me, and I’m hoping I’ll get to expand my reach into the community, both meeting people I might not regularly see at the bakery and also building relationships with people.”

Recent chamber events such as the Ice Time Festival and Christmas Parade have benefitted business at the Baker’s Rhapsody, with people flooding the store for a hot cup of coffee or sweet treat after being out in the cold. The bakery also competed in the popular chili crawl at Ice Time, and also sponsored an Ice sculpture and hosted a gingerbread house competition during Christmas festivities downtown.

“We had a line out the door for the duration of the chili crawl,” Rivas said. “Despite the pandemic, despite the challenges we’ve had, with the help of the Chamber and the events they’ve put on, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in our business since I’ve been here.”

Chamber of Commerce President Kris Soenen said Rivas’ youth, as well as experience with the bakery will be an asset for the chamber board.

“He has his finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the community, as well as with social media,” Soenen said. “And then his business with the bakery is a service business, as well as retail and the food industry, so he brings a different insight to the board of directors in general.”

Rivas said Soenen has been a big aid in his transition to the board so far. 

“She’s been helpful in guiding my understanding of just how an organization like the Chamber works, and making sure I am getting the answers I need,” he said.  “Hopefully I can help create a better downtown and a better Dowagiac for all of the community.”