Employee Amanda King (left) and owner Magda Randall at the Polish Princess Bakery on Main Street in Lancaster. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

Employee Amanda King (left) and owner Magda Randall at the Polish Princess Bakery on Main Street in Lancaster. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

Building a business, and a community’s hearth

Magda Randall's dream was to open a bakery and help revitalize Main Street. Economic-development initiatives supported by the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund helped that dream come true

Magda Randall is every inch the baker — grinning under a flour-splashed cap, forearms nicked with oven scars. She has been up since 3:50 a.m. and at work since 4.

When Magda was a girl, in 1980s Poland, she dreamt of fancy pastries and fruit tarts.

When she moved to New Hampshire, she started making bread in her kitchen. She would drive it around to North Country farmers’ markets and sell out every time (she baked a record 170 loaves in one sourdough-addled 12-hour stretch). Her dreams of fancy pastries mingled with dreams of running her own business.

Stewart Gates, North Country business advisor with the Small Business Development Center, started meeting with Magda every two weeks, helping her craft a business plan and apply for loans for the basics — like a proper bread oven. The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund supports the position of North Country business advisor at the SBDC, as well as other economic-development initiatives in the North Country.

Now, the Polish Princess Bakery is Lancaster’s own hearth — a warm place to gather and eat, in air redolent of semolina bread and almond paste and chocolate croissants. Three “Best of NH” awards hang on the wall.

Four people, including Magda, work here full-time. Magda hopes the bakery’s success will entice more customers and entrepreneurs to Lancaster’s up-and-coming Main Street.

Her dream means more to this community than great bread alone.