In the dictionary, the informal use of the word amazing refers to that which is “startlingly impressive.” When talking with Anna Mast, you will hear her say “amazing” to describe a variety of people and things. To her, though, what she is describing truly is “startlingly impressive.”
Take, for example, the customers of Anna’s Bread, her bakery and small café. “They’re amazing,” Anna will say at first. Then, she will elaborate. “I have a very supportive customer base,” she says. “They have literally watched me grow up.”
Anna goes on to describe how she first started working for then-owner, Rachel Shenk when Rachel had the business. Anna had just started at Goshen College and was working part-time. Several years later, “They watched me through two pregnancies.” Her children, Theo and Obie are now ages four and five.
Anna talks about how the relationships she has developed with her customers is
“amazing.” It one of her great rewards. Anna has been described as “an artist with food who loves making delicious things.” The customers think she is a pretty amazing baker and cook.
“My customers are very accommodating,” Anna tells us. You can see that pleasing her customers is both a priority and gives great meaning to Anna. It is highly motivating.
There is another thing that is motivating Anna these days. She is training for a triathlon – actually, two. One will be in June. If that goes as planned, there will be a second in August. They will not be Anna’s first, but the last time she did a triathlon was before the kids were born.
When not baking or spending time with family, Anna will read Sci-fi and fantasy. “An escape from reality,” she admits. She also makes jewelry. “I was an arts major at Goshen College,” Anna says. She had an emphasis in metals and jewelry. Today, she is part of the jewelers’ guild which, conveniently enough, has a shared studio right above the bakery. Pretty amazing, that is.
When we spoke with Anna, she was rolling butter for the next day’s croissants. She says she is pleased that the transition from Rachel was so smooth. There have been few noticeable touches such as the shop now takes credit cards, but nothing drastic. That’s the way she likes it. That’s how the customers want it.
Anna is married to Jaron Kennel. They live with their children in Goshen. Anna did leave the area for a while after college. “I had a few adventures I had to go have,” is how she describes it. Having done that, she returned to Goshen. “It’s an easy place to come back to,” she says. “It just felt like home.” That is not so amazing. It is home.