Family’s traveling ways lead to new bakery in OC

Following a slogan of “have bakery, will travel,” a couple whose vocational talents have taken them across the U.S. and back again has set up shop in downtown Oil City.

Becki’s Bakery, owned by Becki and Allen Foote, has opened at 226 Seneca St. on Oil City’s North Side. The location, which housed a Subway franchise for many years, is on the ground floor of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) building.

“When we were getting the bakery ready, people would stop in and tell us they were glad we are here because they missed a good bakery,” said Becki Foote. “There’s a lot of stir about it and that’s nice.”

After earning associate degrees in culinary arts and business administration, she began baking specialty breads as well as creating a wide assortment of desserts and sandwiches.

Foote and her husband, who described himself as a “jack of all trades … and a self-taught culinarian,” decided to travel across the U.S. and ply their baking skills along the way.

Landing in Arizona, the couple baked and sold breads and more at roadside stands and farmers markets. The business was classified as a certified home-based bakery.

“We also sold to (Native American) reservations all over Arizona. We did well and our baked goods were popular,” said Becki. “And then we opened a real bakery, also called Becki’s, out there.”

Eyeing a move, the family relocated to Buffalo, N.Y., where Allen worked in local restaurants and kept his sidejob as a handyman. Becki continued baking out of her home and selling her products at the Seneca Farmers Market, festivals and other venues.

A growing family, though, prompted another move.

“We were checking out various locations and while considering Jamestown (New York), because there was a storefront available for a bakery, we saw an ad for a five-bedroom house, ready to move into, for Oil City,” said Allen. “It seemed just right and so we made the move.”

The Foote family, now expanded to include three sons, moved recently to Oil City and settled into a home on the city’s South Side.

Allen went to work as a telemarketer and Becki sold her baked goods at local farmers markets. During the city’s Oil Heritage Festival, the couple noticed a for-rent sign hanging out front of the former Subway.

“I thought, you know, I might have a fighting chance to open a bakery here because there weren’t any. And, I had managed two Subway restaurants before. I think that sign was calling to me,” said Becki. “I do believe in what we’ve done – have bakery, will travel.”

The business is family-owned and operated with the three adult Foote sons – Chris, John and Gabe – assigned specific duties at the bakery.

“Gabe does yeast breads and biscuits. Chris does fruit breads and coffee cakes. John does cookies and brownies,” said Becki. “The whole idea is that as long as they can keep the doors open, they will have a job.”

All baked goods are “scratch-made” with the house specialty being nine flavors of fruit breads. A sandwich and soup menu is being added to the food roster and special orders are accepted.

“We’re excited to be here and we plan on making it successful,” said Allen.