Christina Whitney and Wes Waltermire never thought they’d own a bakery, but together they’ve turned the Wahoo Bakery into their wildest dreams.
Originally a nurse who worked in the operating room with traumas and transplants, Whitney turned to baking to gain some control over her day. The rules that define the world of baking calmed her. However, her hobby soon outgrew her kitchen.
“Baking was a way for me to follow rules and have control. It was just calming to me, and I just realized I was pretty good at it,” Whitney says. “I kept going by word of mouth, and I was able to make that transition.”
After outgrowing her own kitchen, No More Empty Pots—an incubation kitchen in Omaha—and another Omaha bakery, Waltermire and Whitney moved their growing business—The Confectionist—to the Wahoo Bakery in October of 2020.
The Wahoo Bakery has been a staple of downtown Wahoo for nearly 100 years, and it draws in generations of customers. Whitney and Waltermire stressed the importance that they continue the bakery’s legacy for the already established customer base while also making the business their own.
“The bakery is a pretty integral part of the community because it’s been here for so long.” Whitney says. “We get generations of families that come in, because great- grandma used to bring her kids in and now they bring their kids in.”
Whitney has only grown their customer base with a menu mixed with the bakery’s local legacy and her own take on the recipes. They offer a wide range of delicious treats for their customers made with fresh, local, high-quality ingredients from the original handmade breads to her from-scratch pastries, all the way to Whitney’s own line of specialty gourmet ice cream that she created after securing a partnership with the local Beauty View Farm in March of 2022.
“We are 100% scratch made,” Whitney says. “All of our donuts are made by hand. We mix the ingredients by hand, and our raised donuts are cut by hand. We hand-twist our twists and we hand cut our long johns.”
The bread, hamburger buns and hotdog buns are all made from scratch and original recipes.
“We’ve kept the tradition alive for being such a well-known bakery,” Waltermire says. “We’ve kept everything the way that it was before, just with higher quality ingredients.”
Along with making the original menu their own, Whitney has incorporated her business—The Confectionist—into the Wahoo Bakery, offering custom cakes for weddings and other high-end events which she enjoys designing. They are one of the few bakeries in the Omaha and Lincoln area that do so entirely from scratch.
“I feel like homemade, or scratch made, is a dirty word now,” Whitney says. “People say that it is, but they just opened a bag and because they’ve mixed it, they think that it is scratch made. We, though, are legit.”
While Whitney manages all the baking, Waltermire works to take care of the building and helps out where he can with the rest of the staff.
“Christina definitely runs the bakery; her creative juices are throughout here; I just execute the plans for her. If she has an idea for something, we make it happen. Really, I am just on the silent end of the bakery.” Waltermire says. “If something is breaking or needs remodeling, I’m the guy to take care of that. I learned everything for the job so I’m able to just jump right in if someone’s sick too.”
“And he’s one hell of a fryer for donuts,” adds Whitney.
Together they’ve combined their hard work to foster an environment that’s inviting for all of their customers, both new and old.
“We cultivate a safe and happy place,” Whitney says. “We want patrons to come in and know that they are getting a really good product.”
“We’re very inclusive and welcoming,” adds Waltermire.