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Independent Baking Co. Has Been Sold (But Don’t Panic)

When it opened six-plus years ago, it was clear from the start that Independent Baking Co., in Five Points, was something pretty special: a bakery that milled its own wheat, that didn’t give a damn about cupcakes, that cared deeply about the proper way to do things.

So, finding out that it had been sold to someone new produced some palpitations. Calm yourself. Things aren’t changing much.

Owner Thom Leonard has had asthma for some time, and it’s only gotten worse. Being around flour for hours a day wasn’t helping. He was starting to think about hanging it up. Kevin Scollo, meanwhile, originally from Marietta and a baker with stints at The NoMad, Bien Cuit and Great Northern Food Hall (all in New York and with serious names attached), was looking to move back to Georgia. Chris Wilkins, of Root Baking Co., in Atlanta, who was once at Independent, made the match.

It took some time to work out the details—and by some time, I mean months. They had to confirm that they were on the same page philosophically, and it turned out they were.

Scollo concurs that Independent isn’t ordinary and says that New York wishes they had a bakery like this. He’s not looking to change the vibe. He’ll keep milling grain from good suppliers. He’s willing to add some monthly specials, maybe a cookie here and there or a new kind of laminated pastry, perhaps some tea, but the idea is that the average customer won’t notice a change at all.

The keys changed hands Sunday. Leonard seems like he’s looking forward to a rest and says he’s not planning on starting a new business anytime soon, if at all.