Home / News / Moose & Me Bakery, which employs adults of all abilities, has finally moved to a Naperville store

Moose & Me Bakery, which employs adults of all abilities, has finally moved to a Naperville store


Community support, passion and perseverance. Plus some flour of course.

After years spent working in a home kitchen where adults of all abilities were easily provided with a rolling pin, Moose & Me Baking Company, a uniquely inclusive bakery based in Naperville, has finally found the right recipe to move into a place of their own.

The business, which had a soft launch in late October, is settling into its new physical location at 3075 Book Road, a far cry from its humble beginnings when orders were welcomed into owner Megan Elder’s home.

Elder says the transition has been a learning curve. “But it’s a good thing,” he assured.

“It was really weird at first,” Elder said. “We learned a lot and we are still learning. … (But) everyone has been very nice, very excited and very supportive.”

From inspiration to construction, community is the key to making Moose & Me, Elder says.

From the inception of an idea nearly 10 years ago, the goal has been simple: to create a safe space where adults with disabilities can work, come into their own, and tap into baking’s universal ability to connect.

“That’s the magic of this,” Elder said, “that interaction and time spent together.”

Elder knows this feeling well. He modeled it after Moose & Me.

Moose & Me Baking Company’s new space at 3075 Book Road in Naperville offers a build-it-yourself cookie bar and a wide variety of coffee options. (Tess Kenny/Naperville Sun)

Before the early days of her store front and home business, Elder and her daughter, Mila, were the only people in their kitchen.

Elder said Mila has Down syndrome and has been interested in cooking since she was little. When Mila turned 2, it became fun for both of them.

“He really enjoyed it,” Elder said. “It was something that managed to hold his attention for a while. And of course he loved to taste everything.”

At the time, Elder was leading a ministry for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities that she started with her husband. The department helped Naperville better understand its special needs community, he said, but it also showed him how programming falters as people age.

Elder, who is from Naperville, said he has been involved with the special needs community in some capacity for as long as he can remember.

“Whether it was volunteering for the Special Olympics or making special friends in high school…this has always been a part of my life,” he said.

Elder didn’t know how or if this interest would continue as he grew older. But then, after she and her husband got married, they started their ministry. And they adopted Mila. Both eventually inspired Moose & Me.

The COVID-19 pandemic was the final impetus. Stuck inside the house, the Elders wondered why they didn’t just hire a few people who had gone through their ministry and really give their baking venture a shot.

Nicholas Thibault hands out cookie dough at Moose & Me Baking Company's store at 3075 Book Rd.  February 6, 2024 in Naperville.  (Tess Kenny/Naperville Sun)
Nicholas Thibault hands out cookie dough at the Moose & Me Baking Company store at 3075 Book Road in Naperville. (Tess Kenny/Naperville Sun)

Moose & Me operated out of Elder’s home for three years. The orders were all private, booked in advance. Elder knew early on that he wanted a storefront. She and her staff longed for moments when customers from home could stop by and pick up their cakes and treats.

They always wanted that interaction – that sense of community.

So Elder began looking for a more permanent professional address. But the real estate market had other plans.

“We didn’t know how hard it was,” Elder said. “We tried a lot of features. There were a lot of things that failed.”

Meanwhile, Elder collected donations. The community poured more than $100,000 into Elder’s storefront dream through a pair of campaigns. Then, in May last year, the spot on Book Road was revealed. It took a lot of work, but Elder didn’t care.

“This was the kind of situation that was taken for granted,” Elder said. “We were kind of like, it doesn’t need to be perfect.”

But the community stood up again. As Moose & Me’s renovation continues, several local companies volunteer their time and services “to help us create something we didn’t even think was possible,” Elder said.

“We were going to contribute minimally to this field,” he admitted.

Cue Elk Grove Village-based Commercial Stainless Services, which refinished the stainless steel, and Infinity Painters of Naperville, which did the tiling and painting of the furnace.

Sean Liszka of Infinity Painters said: “Just playing a small part, helping them in any way, was amazing.”

Liszka volunteered to help after meeting Moose & Me through social media. The oven sparked a personal interest in she. Liszka said his girlfriend is a special education teacher in Chicago and his cousin has autism.

He reached out to Moose & Me to see if they could do anything.

That makes a big difference, Elder said.

“These people who volunteered their time and services showed how much they care about this community of people,” he said. … They wanted it to be a nice environment, a place where they could feel at home, where they could feel safe, where they could feel loved. (These companies) created this for them.”

The product is better than Elder could have imagined. Pinks and blues line the front of the house, where there is plenty of seating. Behind the cash register, each of Moose & Me’s seven employees hangs their own portrait high for all to see. Below the counters is written the bakery’s motto – “Greatly Made Treats by Greatly Made People” – surrounded by sprinkles.

No longer just a pre-order operation, the new and improved Moose & Me has a build-it-yourself cookie bar and a baking team that’s constantly trying out and playing around with new recipes, Elder said.

Moose & Me Baking Company's new space at 3075 Book Rd.  Naperville has a DIY cookie bar and a wide variety of coffee options.  (Tess Kenny/Naperville Sun)
Moose & Me Baking Company’s new space at 3075 Book Road in Naperville offers a build-it-yourself cookie bar and a wide variety of coffee options. (Tess Kenny/Naperville Sun)

Nicholas Thibault, who has been working at Moose & Me for five months, said he mostly stays behind the scenes but “enjoys making all these treats.”

“It was good,” he said. “(I) have a lot of work and a lot of people to work with. … I haven’t been in a position like this in a while.”

Head baker Joannah Hanel said the year-long transition from Elder’s home to Book Road at Moose & Me has been “a crazy process” but “wonderful.”

“We will have fun here,” he said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun. So that’s the biggest thing. … Everyone who’s here wants to be here. It’s not about the salary.”

Moose & Me Baking Company is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Elder said he hopes to increase hours and staff when the bakery moves to its new home.



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