Businessman, baker, barista: Bernie

Bernie Vogel leans over the pastry case at his 42 W. Main St. joint. JeannieBird Bakeing Company opened in 2014 and has since been a hit in Westminster. (Ryan Hess / McDaniel Free Press).

When walking down Main Street from McDaniel College, there are a few parts of Westminster that are hard to miss. The Westminster Veterans’ Memorial, the Carroll Arts Center, the old firehouse bell – every one represents an intrinsic part of Westminster’s identity.

And, of course, the smiling face of Bernie Vogel, co-founder and owner of JeannieBird Baking Company.

Bernie and his wife, Jeannie Vogel, opened JeannieBird in November of 2014 to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Inspired by the mom-and-pop pastry shops in Seattle, Bernie and Jeannie wanted to bring a taste of their favorite vacation destination back with them to Westminster.

How, do you ask? According to Vogel, by providing a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

“Our mission at JeannieBird is to build a sense of community, one relationship at a time,” Vogel said. “Knowing people’s names is very important to me.”

Between questions, Vogel paused multiple times to say hello to customers, to ask them how their day was going, and how their kids were doing. He greeted them all by name, and spent a minute or two in conversation.

Speaking from his experience, Vogel said that these small chunks of time are priceless to him as a business owner.

“You really can’t help but go beyond the typical customer relationship in a town like Westminster,” Vogel said, as he sipped from his JeannieBird coffee cup. “You learn about customers’ lives, what sports their children play. We watch their children grow up.”

Vogel sees his customers and his employees as his family, and wants his employees to enjoy working at JeannieBird as much as he does.

Soli Barrera, a McDaniel junior who has been working at JeannieBird for over a year now, has loved every minute of it.

“I love the idea of JeannieBird,” Barrera said with a smile. “Bernie emphasizes that we are in the ‘making people happy’ business, and he says so every day I work with him.”

Within just the first month of working, Barrera had had experience in every aspect of JeannieBird, and could easily recognize all of the regular customers.

She attributes all of this to Vogel’s training and the amazing work environment he has built.

“Bernie facilitates the mindset of small business success,” Barrera said. “He encourages his employees to strive for the best in the workplace.”

Such commitment to customers does not go unnoticed.

Donna Eckard, who has been living in Westminster for 40 years, has been coming to JeannieBird since it opened.

“Bernie is my favorite, and he always greets me at the door when I walk in,” Eckard said. “He keeps me coming back.”

Editor’s note: JeannieBird is one of many campus partners in Westminster that accepts McDaniel Bucks through the McDaniel 1Card.

JeannieBird is a consistent ad partner of the Free Press. No special consideration was given to this article as a result of that relationship. We thank Bernie Vogel and his entire team for their continued support of the paper and the entire McDaniel community.