With puffy arm chairs scattered across the room and the inviting aroma of butter wafting through the air, Brunswick’s Union Street Bakery has quickly become a local favorite.

The small pastry shop is a hidden gem for those venturing off campus in search of a hot mug of coffee and a freshly baked brioche cinnamon bun. Owner and head baker Sandy Holland opened the bakery on a quiet corner of Brunswick’s Union Street in June 2015.

Union Street Bakery is not the only restaurant Holland has owned in Brunswick. After receiving an Associate Degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in Culinary Arts, Holland and her former husband settled in Brunswick and opened a bake shop similar to Union Street called The Humble Gourmet. The couple closed the shop after a number of years, and Holland took a break from cooking and became a manager of a bank.

However, her love for baking remained as strong as ever, and it wasn’t long before Holland returned to the kitchen.

“I have a culinary degree; I have a culinary background—my whole life has been in restaurants,” said Holland. “As thankful as I was for those jobs, I really hated almost every minute of it because sitting at a desk was just miserable for me.”

“I knew that all I really wanted to do was bake and cook,” she said. “So I turned 50 and I got Obamacare and I quit my job.”

After seeing a vacant storefront on Union Street, Holland decided to purchase the space and open a neighborhood bakery, keeping community at the center of her vision. A resident Mainer who raised her three sons in Brunswick, Holland sees her connection to community as a crucial component of her business.

The space’s historical significance to Brunswick was also important in Holland’s decision to open Union Street Bakery. Until 2004, the building was a local store called Tetreault’s Market that had operated for nearly 75 years, supplying food for the neighborhood’s French-Canadian mill workers. After this market closed, the building housed various local businesses until it was purchased by Holland.

Personally acquainted with nearly every one of her customers, Holland explained she is not in the business for the money. Instead, her focus is on giving back to the community.

“I hate the pricing part of it because when you like to cook and you’ve been the mother of three sons, charging people for food is really not what you want to do. You just want to give it to them,” said Holland.

Holland says she has no plans for expansion—she is happy doing what she is doing now.

“People keep saying to me ‘you should open another one, you need more space, something bigger.’ But no. This is it … this is what I want to do,” she said.