Originally established in 1928 by the Syrjanen family, Trenary Toast is a staple in many Upper Peninsula homes. Headquartered in Trenary, Michigan, co-owners Brianna Wynsma and Marco Dossena recently expanded their business with the opening of their second cafe. Nestled in the heart of downtown Marquette, locals and tourists alike can enjoy delicious handmade Cinnamon Rolls baked fresh each morning, mouthwatering Scandinavian style open-faced sandwiches, and a full-service coffee bar.
Here at Innovate Marquette, we love to see businesses thrive and innovate from within. From assisting our clients through their own entrepreneurial journeys, we know that being a small business owner isn’t for the faint of heart. However, after putting in long hours, making tough decisions, and learning to pivot when faced with unexpected obstacles, those moments when you achieve your goals feel that much sweeter!
To help celebrate Trenary Toast’s recent milestone of expanding their business to Marquette, we had the pleasure of connecting with Brianna to learn more about the company’s rich history, what inspired her and Marco to set up shop in Marquette, and more. Continue reading to learn about their journey as small business owners.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS AND OPEN ANOTHER CAFE?
Marco Dossena and I [Brianna] purchased Trenary Home Bakery at the end of 2018 and our top priority from the start has been to preserve the history and tradition of Trenary Toast. Trenary Toast is a treat that many people grew up eating around the table with family, and it has a special place in the heart of many Yoopers because of the fond memories that were created while dunking and crunching with relatives. There is something unique about taking a moment to talk over a freshly brewed pot of coffee and bag of Trenary Toast – and that experience is something that we want a broader audience to experience and enjoy.
Kristin: I can definitely relate. Growing up, my grandparents’ cupboard was always stocked with a bag of Trenary Toast. To this day, when I picture my grandpa he is sitting in his comfy chair with a cup of coffee and a piece of cinnamon toast.
WE’RE GLAD YOU CHOSE MARQUETTE AS YOUR SECOND LOCATION. WHAT WAS THE REASONING BEHIND THAT?
My husband and I are NMU Alumni and have lived in Marquette off and on since 2013. It is a special place that is a pit stop for many visitors, and a weekly destination for many Yoopers for shopping, etc. The location we were able to secure, on the corner of Washington and 3rd in Downtown Marquette, is a great location that is accessible for locals and visitors alike.
Kristin: Downtown Marquette is bustling. You definitely picked a great spot! Now, let’s go back to the beginning for a moment. What motivated you to buy the business in the first place?
Marco and I graduated from NMU in 2015 and badly wanted to stay and start our careers in Marquette. Sadly, this did not quite pan out as we’d like and we moved to Chicago and worked for start-up companies where we worked intimately with ownership. After 3 years of living in the city we more than ever had our hearts set on a return to Marquette and we felt we were up to the challenge of owning a business. We met the previous owner of the bakery who was quietly exploring the option of selling, and we jumped on it!
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT TO SEE AND TASTE WHEN VISITING THE CAFE?
The Marquette Cafe will give customers an opportunity to learn about the history of the bakery, try our products via the cafe menu, and buy our packaged bread and Trenary Toast. We will really be focusing on the Finnish heritage of the bakery, and many of our menu items will be inspired by Scandinavian culture. We are bringing old bakery equipment, photos, and tools to display on the walls and even commissioned a local artist to paint a mural paying homage to the bakery’s hometown.
Kristin: From the moment you step foot in the cafe, it is easy to see that you and Marco take great care in preserving Trenary Toast’s rich history. How exactly do you go about honoring its heritage?
Throughout the 93-year history of the bakery, little has changed in terms of the recipes and techniques we use to produce our products. There is certainly a ‘less is more’ philosophy that is inherent in the original recipes the Syrjanen Family created, and we still honor that today. Our most popular product, Cinnamon Trenary Toast, contains only 7 simple ingredients with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. We rely on a team of 20-25 employees in Trenary who produce and pack all of our products by hand, using techniques passed down from the generations that worked in the bakery before them.
“After 3 years of living in the city we more than ever had our hearts set on a return to Marquette and we felt we were up to the challenge of owning a business.”
— Brianna Wynsm
Stop in and experience a taste of Trenary for yourself. Trenary Toast Cafe is located at 153 W Washington in Marquette and opens daily at 7:30 am. Your tastebuds will thank you!
And remember, small business owners need our support now more than ever. To support Trenary Toast Cafe and other locally owned small businesses in Marquette County, purchase your Love on Local gift card.