Alumni-owned bakery leads to sweet success

MSUM alumni Morgan Laite (’17) and Maggie Thoemke (’16, ’19) met when they found themselves working at a job together which they didn't enjoy. Bonding over their shared experience at MSUM, similar personalities, and the fact that they were born nine days apart, they quickly became close friends. Fueled by their like-mindedness, the duo set out to start jobs they would enjoy.

Maggie loves baking and Morgan has always dreamed of owning a business, so in April 2023, they filed to become an LLC and start their new business together. Black Cat Bakery officially opened in Moorhead on December 18, 2023, and quickly garnered rave reviews and immense support from the community.

“The community is so behind us. Moorhead feels like a tight-knit family; people are psyched that we are here,” Morgan says.

Black Cat Bakery Shelves

Black Cat Bakery has quickly become a staple of north Moorhead, gaining 1,200 followers on its Facebook page within three months of opening. Everything is made fresh in-house, including pies, cakes, bread, croissants, rolls, scones, and cookies. Black Cat Bakery also makes baked goods for events and sells out fairly regularly at its storefront.

Morgan graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Art in English and Maggie graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Art in English and a certificate in professional writing. Maggie also attended graduate school at MSUM and graduated in 2019 with a Master of Art in Teaching English as a Second Language.

Morgan and Maggie attribute a lot of personal and professional development to their time at MSUM. Morgan was advised by Professor Kevin Carollo, and with his guidance, she learned the importance of taking life at a slower pace and not taking on more than she can handle.

“He was really helpful with telling me to take my time. Carollo reminded me that I don’t have to take 21 credits in a semester,” Morgan says.

Maggie was also impacted by the faculty in many ways throughout her undergraduate and graduate education at MSUM. During graduate school, Maggie took on new challenges, as her first child was born during her first year.

“I was working on a master’s degree with an infant. I realized that I had to bring him to an advising meeting, and I was mortified, but my advisor welcomed both of us and started playing with him,” Maggie says.

Linda Houts-Smith was Maggie’s advisor throughout graduate school and used that advising meeting to affirm her with a valuable lesson.

“Linda told me that things happen in life, and that it’s how you handle them that matters. I’ve carried that with me to this day,” Maggie says.

Maggie has also written and published a novel with the support of one of her professors at MSUM. She started crafting the story as an assignment for a writing class, and Professor Kevin Zepper read the start of her story and encouraged her to keep writing so it could become a book. Maggie Thoemke’s first book, The Yellow Barrette, was published in November 2022.

Every aspect of Morgan Laite and Maggie Thoemke’s lives has been impacted by their time at MSUM. From having learned life lessons to developing their character to publishing a book and starting their own business, they’ve taken Dragon-acquired skills with them wherever they go.

You can visit Maggie and Morgan at 1500 11th St. N. in Moorhead for some delicious treats and follow Black Cat Bakery on Facebook for updates.

Bachelor of Art in English

Cultivate the arts of reading and writing with an English degree.

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