Meet Hana Yohannes — baker extraordinaire, Pastry Project alumna, and owner of Shikorina Pastries in Seattle’s Central District. At Shikorina Pastries, Hana focuses on using organic ingredients and prioritizes working with other small businesses to make the best use of the delicious and fresh ingredients grown locally. Hana was also a part of the Pastry Project, a program that provides free pastry training to people who face barriers getting into the industry. As a Black, queer business owner and a second generation immigrant, Hana said it was hard for her to find role models with similar experiences when trying to open her bakery, so she wants to support other people looking to start a small business but are struggling to find the right resources and community.
Pro tip: Try Shikorina Pastries’ organic chocolate chunk cookie — a grown up version of the chocolate chip cookies Hana would make with her siblings as a kid.
Get to know more about Hana and Shikorina Pastries in this week’s Business Spotlight Q&A.
The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
What’s your favorite part about the neighborhood your business is in and why?
Central District is historically a Black-owned neighborhood… So, it really means a lot to me to be a Black-owned business in this area and be able to support the people and really cultivate the community that’s left here. I’m trying to get community together, but also kind of be a vessel for the people that are here and trying to make an impact in their own ways. And I’m trying to figure out how I can support all the work that’s already happening here.
Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?
I think it’s super important that we support small businesses because it’s the small businesses that really have roots in the community and understand the people that we are supporting. [Small businesses] really care about helping each other and making sure that we’re supporting other businesses that are working to support our community members. And the best way to do that is to support those that own businesses in our area. It’s the best way to make sure that our dollars are being spent on our community rather than on these large corporations that are in other places.
Who is on your InTENtional List right now?
Definitely Melo Cafe, which is right across the street from me. It used to be Cortona Cafe, but [the owner] decided that it was time for her to retire. She was also a Black woman business owner, Ice, and she was really intentional and wanted to make sure that her space went to someone else that also really cared about the space and the community and the work she was doing. So, she sold it to these two other Black women, and now they’re running Melo Cafe, and they’re doing amazing work and it’s so exciting being around their business as well as many others. There’s also Communion that’s just a couple blocks up from me that’s owned by Damon and his mother [Kristi Brown]. It’s another Black-owned business. They’ve been super supportive of me as someone who is really new to this industry.