PROFILE: Alyssa Brocker

October 23, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

Service with a smile at The Inn Bakery…
BY OLIVIA CAMERON- For many people in Boca Grande, a steaming latte and a glazed donut might be just a pit stop along the way. But for The Inn Bakery’s Alyssa Brocker, it’s a fun job as she hands over the coffee and pastries with a smile and an invitation to stop by again. Between the fresh smoothies and options for all kinds of taste buds, the bakery is more than a one-stop shop. To Alyssa, it’s a way to wake up on the right side of the bed.
Even as early as 6:30 a.m., she provides service with a smile in hopes that her joy is contagious. 
“There’s nothing a good cinnamon roll and a pumpkin spice latte can’t fix,” is the way she puts it. “But besides the menu items, we focus on providing ideal customer service.”
Alyssa is enamored with the quality of life in a small town. Working in Boca Grande reminds her of a quiet and simple childhood she once loved. 
“The town is charming. Everyone knows everyone. It isn’t too different from growing up in Michigan.”
In Grand Rapids, Alyssa’s upbringing was structured by her mother’s resilience, raising two children on her own. 
“I lived the kind of childhood where all of my friends grew up on the same cul-de-sac. I am used to tightly knit communities,” said Alyssa. 
From the ages of 7 to 16, Alyssa was involved in competitive cheerleading and was passionate about the sport and the adrenaline rush. 
“Our team was serious,” she said. 
She recalls many hours of traveling to places she’d never been for competitions, including China. 
“I learned more than you’d think from the sport, like how to practice leadership and commitment.”
Despite years of cheerleading and brief enrollment in Taekwondo classes, she’s never broken a bone. 
“There was a time I was practicing a back handspring in wet grass and my arms gave out. I cracked my neck, and those around me were afraid I could have died, but it was like nothing happened and I was back on my feet,” she said.
By the time Alyssa became a high school student, her family moved to Florida. She enjoyed attending Lemon Bay High School prior to earning a full scholarship to Edison State College, now known as Florida Southwestern State College. 
“At that point, I got involved with theatre. I have this newfound respect for acting and for writing,” said Alyssa. “I’d like to be a writer someday.”
For now, Alyssa considers the bakery her home away from home. Even after three seasons, she still finds happiness in the little things. And she always enjoys making new friends.
“I was lucky to land a position in a fun environment. My coworkers make the bakery what it is,” said Alyssa. 
A few years ago, her friend and manager of the bakery asked her to be a part of the team. Living in Port Charlotte at the time, Alyssa wasn’t sure about the commute. She would work half the time at a local grocery store and the other half at the bakery. Since then, her position at the bakery has transitioned into a full-time gig.
On a typical day, she starts off by tending to customers who want to start their day before the sun rises. She pours the morning coffees for sleepy-eyed islanders and serves warmed pastries with a smile that can’t quite be fully seen under her mask.
“I don’t do much baking, but I’ve been working in the back lately and got my very first burn scar,” she said with a laugh, pointing to the line on her arm. “You could say I’ve been officially inducted into the business.”
Alyssa has found her position to be unique. 
“If my coworkers and I didn’t work as well together as we do, things might not be as seamless as they are. It’s all about trusting each other.”
To her, the bakery’s building is like a time capsule that holds memories of Old Florida. 
“One afternoon, a woman showed up to take a picture at our bakery. She then told us she used to live here. It’s funny how things change,” Alyssa said. 
Just in time for BocaWeen, Alyssa and her coworkers have fostered a tale to be told. But to her, it’s more than just a story.
“I believe the bakery, being located in a 100-year-old building, may be haunted,” said Alyssa. “But not in a bad way. I think we have a mischievous ghost.” 
Alyssa refers to rumors of ghost sightings by some of the former staff. These sightings depict a man with brown hair wearing a red shirt and black pants. He is also described as wearing a train conductor’s hat. 
“I’d like to think this is a train conductor from the island’s past,” she said. “He’s been seen peeking around corners. Of course, I haven’t seen him. But one day as our bakery was closing, I tripped on nothing. It felt like someone stuck their leg out.”
Alyssa recalls paper towel dispensers going off and pans falling for no reason while she’s been at work. 
“It’s little things you can’t explain,” she said. 
And she is already familiar with chilling experiences. Her mother, who also works at the bakery, investigates homes across Florida with a paranormal group. The subject of the supernatural intrigues them both. 
On a lighter note, Alyssa celebrates the fall season (or lack thereof) in Florida with a trip to Hunsader Farms. From a day picking pumpkins to a night rewinding Hocus Pocus, she makes the most of a hot holiday season.
“When my family gets together, it’s a tradition to carve pumpkins and post them on Facebook to let our friends guess who carved which,” said Alyssa. 
When she isn’t warming delectable pastries, Alyssa tries her hand at creative writing and poetry. Her passion for the written word began when she created an original play for her theater group. As for her poetry, the words seem to float down the page, dragging the reader’s eye and attention along with them. She enjoys studying the structure of young adult novels and has had her work published by Florida Weekly.  
“Sometimes the parks on the island can be the perfect places to just sit down and write,” she beamed. 
As a sideline she often spends her free time on the island walking the dogs of Boca Grande. By getting to know the local pups, Alyssa is enticed to raise her own. 
Like the pastries, Alyssa finds her job to be a real treat. 
“I get to start my day with everyone on the island!”
Alyssa invites you to stop by The Inn Bakery and give her a smile through your mask. And, if you need a dog sitter for the day, she’s your gal.