Booming Baking Business

Sep 8, 2023 | Businesses, DeFuniak Springs, Walton & Beyond

Image of Perla owners waving in the front door of their shop.

Perla Baking Co. is part of a thriving Historic Downtown DeFuniak Springs

By Wendy O. Dixon

Main street businesses bring an all’s-right-with-the-world quality to any small town. With owner-operated shops that meet a neighborhood’s everyday needs, these vitally important stores help people feel like they’re part of a friendly community.

Sally and Dan Bailey share their talents, strengths, burdens, long hours and business know-how as the owners of Amavida Coffee Roasters, an ethical and sustainable coffee company. A Certified Carbon-Neutral and Plastic-Neutral company, Amavida also earned a B-Corp. certification, which is given to companies that meet certain standards for social and environmental performance. Amavida was recently listed as one of the “Top 200 Companies in the World” by Real Leaders Magazine.

Dan and Sally opened the first Amavida Coffee Roaster in 2004 in Freeport. In the years since, Amavida added coffee shops in Seaside, Rosemary Beach and St. Andrews. It has a roasting facility in the South Walton Commerce Park which houses, roasts and distributes its magic coffee beans.

Perla Baking Co., the latest project for the Baileys, is one of the shops adding spark to the main street in downtown DeFuniak Springs. The name Perla joins the words “perfect” and “lake,” inspired by the historic Lake DeFuniak. Dan is CEO and manager of the Amavida company, while Sally serves as owner and general manager of Perla, running the day-to-day operations at the bakery.

The idea for a bakery came about as Dan and Reynolds Henderson, a real estate investor who was doing some development in DeFuniak, thought opening a bakery and coffee shop there would be a draw for the area. “We really like working in small communities,” Dan says. “The concept we appreciate about Seaside — new urbanism, walkable towns with independent businesses — is the same in DeFuniak. Reynolds had a lot of faith in that concept, and we did too.”

There’s the business of baking and brewing, and also the advocacy about which the Baileys are so passionate. “Our coffee house is a stage for the community,” Dan says. “We can integrate music, art, food, coffee, many touch points. Others are seeing what we do as a B-Corp. and sustainable company, and they imitate some of those practices.”

Being a purveyor of thoughtfully sourced specialty baked goods is a 24/7 business for Sally, who has night-shift bakers perfecting their sweet and savory baked goods for the coffee shops in Seaside and Rosemary Beach. The bakery also makes doughnuts daily for Amavida Donuts food truck in Seaside. The daytime staffers continually serve Perla customers fresh scones, cinnamon rolls, croissants, salads and sandwiches, and of course, Amavida’s famous organic coffee and tea. The shop is open from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. “Part of running the business is getting to taste everything. That’s both good and bad,” Sally laughs.

The Historic Downtown Business District of DeFuniak Springs is a beloved part of northern Walton County. A day trip can include walking the charming Baldwin Avenue while shopping and indulging in the delicious treats at Perla.

Learn more about Perla Baking Co. on their website

Try This at Perla Baking Co.

Everything Avocado Toast: smashed avocado, zesty lime, everything seasoning, tangy pickled red onions, a spicy kick of red pepper flakes and a fresh crunch of microgreens. 

Cappuccino Art

A cappuccino is an espresso drink with steamed milk, milk foam and espresso. Perla makes their cappuccion with love!


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