Opening its second location in Baton Rouge just a short drive away from Bocage Village, locally owned cookie shop CounterspaceBR is seeking to become more than a supplier of sweet treats.
After spending time in Washington D.C., CounterspaceBR owner Sarah Joy Hays saw an opportunity to use her new location to bring her community together.
“One thing about D.C. that stood out to me that I hope Baton Rouge and other cities in Louisiana emulate is a strong sense of neighborhood,” Hays says. “There’s so much about Baton Rouge where you hop in your car and drive across town, and I would love for us as a community to really invest in the area right around us by making things more walkable and bikeable and really getting to know [our] neighbors.”
Though it has already been open for a few weeks, the new location’s grand opening is set for June 17, a date that holds special meaning for Hays as both her son’s birthday and the four-year anniversary of her entry into brick-and-mortar business.
The menu for the Bocage location hasn’t changed much from its sister location on Perkins Road, offering the same cookies, brownies, cakes, sandwiches on freshly baked bread and unicorn bars.
But the new location across the street from Towne Center also offers a collection of cookbooks curated by Hays and easy access to baking supplies previously not available in Baton Rouge, as well as exclusive ingredients like a vanilla brand found nowhere else in the Red Stick, Mojo Coffee from New Orleans and jams made fresh in New Orleans.
“Hopefully we can use our skills as bakers to help the home baker or the novice baker learn more things and experiment more,” Hays says.
Hays also wants to provide people with quick access to everyday baking accessories and supplies like oven thermometers, cookie trays or scoops for projects where two-day shipping on Amazon isn’t fast enough.
“We wanted to expand beyond just baked goods, even though our cookies are beloved,” Hays says. “We wanted to fill a hole in the market. In Baton Rouge right now, there’s not a kitchenware store. There’s not a William Sonoma anymore. We want to be that for Baton Rouge. And on top of that, we want to try to carry brands local to Louisiana, made in the U.S. and female-owned.”
CounterspaceBR will be more than a spot to bring the chefs, bakers and lovers of all things sweet together. Hays explains that the new location and others like it, which she describes as water coolers for the community to gather at, are a part of her vision of a Baton Rouge where everyone contributes to one another’s success.
“We really want to try to use this space to partner with local makers and local shops to broaden the community and the understanding of what all we have in our community,” she says. “Hopefully [we can] create a communal spot for makers to be able to show off what’s happening in Baton Rouge.”
One upcoming collaboration is a story time series through Red Stick Reads, Hays explains.
Hays’ vision for the future of Baton Rouge’s community is evident in the large mural of the company’s cookie logo with a tiger peeking over painted by local artist Hannah Gumbo, representing some of the best Baton Rouge has to offer creatively.
More than just a bakery, Hays sees CounterspaceBR as part of a revitalization of Baton Rouge that will help make the city more attractive to young people looking to start a family after college at LSU, just like she did after her stint in sales in Washington D.C.
“Hopefully we can build up those people trying to make Baton Rouge a strong and lively place,” Hays explains. “Make it attractive and create an environment worth staying for and investing in.”
The Bocage location of CounterspaceBR, located at 7575 Jefferson Highway Suite D, is currently open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, visit counterspacebr.com.