Spicing Up Door County

Megan Jutrzonka always knew she wanted to own a bakery.

“Baking was a stress reliever for me,” she says. “By high school, I knew I wanted to go to school first for baking and then for business.”

That’s exactly what the 2016 alumna did. After earning her associate’s degree in baking and pastry art from the Illinois Institute of Art, she headed to Alverno for her undergraduate degree in business and management. Alverno made perfect sense given that her mother, Julie, is a 1999 alum and former assistant professor of nursing.

Throughout her college years, Jutrzonka worked in local bakeries, quickly becoming the manager in each of them. That managerial experience and her business degree gave her the skills and confidence to fulfill her childhood dream.

Last March, Jutrzonka opened NutMeg Spice in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Inspired by her German grandfather, who would ask her to make Belgian waffles and blitz torte, Jutrzonka’s shop specializes in old-school recipes.

“I wanted to provide a neighborhood bakery where people can walk in and feel at home. I also wanted to give them fresh ingredients, from-scratch products and an experience they will forever remember,” she says.

Putting her creativity into the business keeps things interesting. A few weeks ago, she baked French macarons for the fun of it. Because croissants are her favorite baked good to eat, she keeps them on the menu despite how time-consuming they are to make.

“Giving somebody a product you put your heart into and seeing them enjoy it, it is so worth it,” she says. “And it means so much more when you own the business.”

Of course, owning a small business has its challenges. She usually works seven days a week, is often on her feet 10 hours a day, and has had to learn a lot on the fly. Without her business degree, the 26-year-old says, becoming an entrepreneur would have been a real struggle.

“I still go back to my financial spreadsheets that I had from accounting, and I refer back to my management books,” she says. “The biggest thing I learned at Alverno was how to work in a team. As an owner you have to get different personalities to work together, and Alverno taught me how to form a well-working team.”

It helps that the Door County business community has welcomed her. She has also met a few Alverno alums in the area, and she hopes to discover more as she settles into her new hometown.

“When I went to alum events in Milwaukee, they were very powerful. You had people from all different class years and backgrounds coming together to learn something new,” she says. “I would like to bring alumnae together here, in Door County, as well.”

On Friday, Sept. 20, Jutrzonka will host her first Alverno alumnae gathering at NutMeg Spice. She’ll be serving desserts, coffee and tea in the bakery’s dining room, which is designed for people to gather together.

For more about the event and to register, visit www.alverno.edu/alumnae

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