Sarah Joy Hays wants to offer something a little extra with CounterSpace, her bakery.
It could be an extra flavor, like the light, lemon glaze on a blueberry scone. Or it could be going a little further for a customer, like explaining to a teacher needing king cakes for her class the process and ingredients used.
There are a few extras at CounterSpace's new location on Perkins Road, which opened Feb. 21. Along with its cakes, cookies, muffins, macarons and other baked goods, the shop is selling grab-and-go lunches by MJ's Cafe and brewing New Orleans' Mojo Coffee (the first Baton Rouge location to do so).
The bakery has a small seating area at the front of the space, and there's a larger dining room area to the side that Hays wants to use for additional seating and special events — she mentions customers being able to rent the space, hosting cooking classes or collaborative events with other local food businesses.
"I'm excited about creating a community space," Hays said. "Baton Rouge can be a very good family-centric place, but I think if you're from the outside, it's a little harder to find a quick community. The more spaces you can create for people to find community and feel at home, the better."
This is the second location for the business — the bakery opened in White Star Market in June — and will operate as CounterSpace's production center, making goods for both locations, French Truck Coffee on Government Street and Light House Coffee on Lee Drive as well as special orders.
The space at 3753 Perkins Road (sandwiched between Uncle Earl's bar and the Yoglates 2 studio) was formerly occupied by Lily's Restaurant and Grill, and a colorful cactuses mural is still painted on the outside, around the door.
Hays, who is also the acting executive director for the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit The Data Coalition, is a self-taught baker who started selling her goods in February 2017 at the Mid City Makers Market. She also runs a blog about her baking and travel at counterspacebr.com.
Her creations quickly gained a local following at the Makers Market. Now CounterSpace employs about 15 people at its two locations.
The word "joy" came up a few times during an ebullient conversation with Hays. She wants to bring a moment of joy with a coffee and snack break during a busy day. Or provide a space for a joyful celebration in her shop.
"I'm a Christian, and part of my core value system is we're all created equally and of the same value," Hays said. "If this is a place where everyone can come in and feel that same level of value and joy, that's huge. I want everyone, even if it's just through a little cookie, but if they can feel and understand that they're valued as an individual — that's important to me."
3753 Perkins Road
8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday