By Hannah Lester
Moriah Shelley knew she didn’t want her time in quarantine to go to waste, so she thought she’d pick up a new hobby.
Like many people, bread making came to mind. But for 14-year-old Shelley, making sourdough in her kitchen became much more than a hobby.
“When I was stuck at home and I was doing nothing all day, I started my sourdough starter,” she said.
If you’re unfamiliar with bread making — the starter comes first, which takes a month or two before it’s ready for baking.
The first attempt did not go so well, either.
“It was not good,” she said. “So, the bread, it was not good at all. It’s definitely been trial and error. I had to make several loaves of bread before it actually tasted decent. So, it’s definitely been a learning process … After the first loaf of bread, I was like, ‘I’m done.’ I was expecting it to be so good and I was just talking to my mom and I was like, ‘Mom, I’m done. This is ridiculous.’”
But, Shelley didn’t give up.
“It was crazy,” she said. “It took months to get it ready and it was just crazy that all of that finally paid off. And of course, it just made me so happy.”
Once she had the recipe down, the bread was something that her family and friends were enjoying. And they began to encourage her to sell it.
Shelley’s sister works at The Well. The Well opened on Avenue A in Opelika in March 2021, and is a collection of businesses inside one inclusive space.
There are other art products for sale, such as prints, jewelry and clothes. But there is also food: donuts, salads, teas and lattes. And each business is owned or run by women.
“All of the ladies who started The Well had talked about [the sourdough] and they tried it and they were completely in love,” she said.
Now, Shelley sells her loaves in The Well but the business also uses her bread for their toasts and sandwiches.
This is Shelley’s first real job, and she is thriving.
“I never thought that that one good loaf of bread — I would be here now … and it’s just wild,” she said.
Shelley is homeschooled, which gives her time to make the bread. She only needs to bake twice a week to have enough for The Well, since the bread is made in bulk, she said.
This also gives her time to make bread for her family and friends, spend time at church and pursue other passions, plus, of course, her schoolwork.
Shelley is only 14, so her future is undecided. But, for now, she will continue making and selling bread.
“I’m coming up with some more sourdough products that are hopefully going to be launching soon in The Well,” she said.
Additionally, she hopes to branch out into other locations in the future. There is one other vendor currently in the works, she said, but it is not set in stone.
Shelley said her dream is to one day own a sourdough bakery.
To try some of her bread or buy a loaf, visit The Well on Avenue A.
The Well is located at 824 Ave. A, Opelika and is open Monday through Sunday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Reservations are required outside of walk-in hours after 8 a.m. up to 8 p.m. The Well requests a one-hour notice ahead of the reservation time.
This is the tenth in a series of articles on the different businesses that are located inside The Well.