Melissa Sepulveda of Forno Marion — a bakery soon to open on Route 6 — started baking in early 2020 as a way to cope with a really hard year.
“I started to bake in January, after the holidays, and I couldn’t stop,” she said. Her mother had passed away, and Sepulveda had survived breast cancer.
She said that baking has been therapeutic, and a way to be connected to her mother and grandmother.
“We carry Italian traditions through our family,” she said.
She started baking recipes she inherited from her grandmother, who grew up in Sicily.
“It healed me,” she said.
She started giving bread to friends, and quickly, had developed a small home business as people convinced her to begin selling some of her baked goods.
Once she was selling bread to strangers, she had a realization and called her sister.
“I kind of have a bread-baking business,” she remembered telling her sister over the phone. “What should I call it?”
Her sister suggested forno, the Italian word for oven.
As her business expanded, she was getting up at 5 a.m. to bake, all while texting people to pick up orders at her home, and making deliveries to the Marion General Store. Then, she started baking for the Walrus and Captain, Fieldstones, and the Minkle Brothers Catering Company.
She started cooking in her small home kitchen, she said, and got it registered.
“I can do everything, but I recognize when it’s time to step away,” Sepulveda said.
She decided she needed to call in reinforcements. A former coworker helped Sepulveda photograph her bread for her website, and Beth Winn, her longtime best friend, has joined Sepulveda as a partner.
“It’s been a perfect marriage,” Sepulveda said.
When she began looking for a bakery, she started in Marion before finding her current location at 260 Marion Rd.
“I have so much support from Marion,” Sepulveda said. But she couldn’t pass up the Wareham location, the former home of Frank’s Butcher Shop. “This location was just perfect.”
Located just a few minutes down Route 6 from the Marion border, Sepulveda said she hopes people will find it just by walking past.
One of the most exciting features of the new bakery, Sepulveda said, is the space.
Along with her business partner, Sepulveda is working to get her bakery ready to open. While she has most of the equipment, she’s waiting on a few contractors and final inspections.
She’s also brought on a few team members: her nephew, who is a chef, and her cousin, who is a professional baker.
“It’s been extremely joyous, which I never really imagined,” Sepulveda said.
Sepulveda said that she’s working on some new items for the bakery’s menu, but customers can expect to see many favorite items: focaccia, olive bread, brioche, pullman loaves, and traditional boules.
She also plans to make her grandmother’s cannoli recipe, which features a soft and flaky shell — a very different style than the hard, store-bought cannolis many people are familiar with.
Above all, Sepulveda said, the bakery is all about feeding people and making them happy.
She said you can tell when bread has been baked with “love and care and intent.”
“I swear to god it’s a chemical,” Sepulveda said. Commercially baked goods, she said, are “missing that cared-for feeling.”
Sepulveda said she’s excited to open her bakery doors to everyone.
“Everybody is deserving of good stuff,” Sepulveda said.