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  • Courtney Jette

A little TLC for TSP

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

March, 2020

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Walking into this shutdown idea was a lot like walking into Tsp Bakeshop. I was excited, and unsure of what to expect.

I’m not going to lie, meeting and getting to know owner and operator Melissa Nissen set the bar EXTREMELY high for the rest of these owner visits.

If I am saving the best for last.... then I'm half expecting to photograph God on my last stop.

The second I entered the space I was enveloped in the therapeutic hug of a bakery with its empty machines and vacant dessert cases all humming.

Even closed it was still a happy place.

I wasn’t even nervous about how I assumed I’d be rushed in and out of establishments so 20 minutes should work.

It was an amazing experience.


Real relationships

Sincere people

Every second I spent in TSP the more I got to understand the owner.

I’m glad that was my first stop.

She was raw real and willing to talk about everything.

I could write 5 posts alone on the wisdom and kindness that overflows out of this shop owner and her business.

And I’m proud that she’s in the Tri-Cities

As far as I’m concerned, she should be the model that owners strive for.

Seeing the people come in gave me a chance to chat with a few of them.

"The coffee is fantastic, it will really give you a kick, yet it’s the smoothest coffee I’ve ever had," said a few women coming in after a morning run.

"When she’s out of my favorite, I try something new... then that’s my new favorite."

Nissen serving her last customer

Within that 90 minutes I had a chance to ask her a few questions.

* What about this shutdown has you most concerned?

"The loss both of human life and of dreams. A lot of these places are people’s dreams that have come to fruition."

She paused as she tears up.

"I feel like it’s going to break people, and it’s going to cause damage we can’t see in the long run. This is hitting the freest nation on our planet, the backbone of our country is to be able to go out and make a name for yourself. More regulations put in place to not crash systems... will crush dreams."

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Nissen sits in emty TSP bakery after her last customer has left. The 2020 lockdown of March has just begun for her.

* Are you the first person in your family to be a business owner, or are there others?

Growing up around her dad and grandfather, who both ran produce businesses, gave her a foundation of hard work and entrepreneur spark.

Although, she is the first person in her family to have employees to care for.

I think she’d be like that either way.

* Who are the people you run your business for? Who do you work for?

"My employees are my first customers."

And for the relationships she builds with her customers.

"For the love of people, food and community."

Originally the bakery was started on a family farm in Mattawa by two sisters.

They moved it to the Tri-Cities around 6 years ago. Nissen has been the owner for the last 3, but that’s not her whole history with this place. Clocking 22 years in the food industry, head chef worn down from managing people, she looked for a "checklist" job, wanting to be an employee clock in, do your jobs, clock out.

Baking has been what she does at home to relax and so she found the TSP bakery and found her checklist job. Three years later she would purchase it and go back to managing people and baked goods . And obviously she’s doing what she was meant for. But I expect to see a whole lot more coming from her corner.

If that’s not enough info... take this in.

Two arrangements of flowers sat on her front counter.

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The peace posys

Unable to find flour, sugar and eggs, bakeries were obviously a little worried. Nissen saw social media posts of stressed and worried owners... worried about not being able to get necessities for their baking.

Searching the area for supplies and coming up empty, she contacted her husband working down in California. This story ends with Nissen driving to meet her husband in Bend, Oregon to transfer 800 pounds of supplies for her, and a local bakery that had been panicking.

"If we’re going out, we’re all going out on top.” 

"Not because we run out of supplies."

I have a feeling that’s definitely not where the story really ends, and that she’s definitely not going anywhere.

"We have to have competition, it makes us better"

Cheers TSP bakery

You’re going to make it through just fine.

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