What is the background of Camino, and how long have you been operating?
Camino was started by Cary Clifford. She was baking pastries out of her home kitchen for farmers markets, and bake sales around town. She started getting popular so she moved into the basement of Krankies.Coffee in 2008/2009. She baked out of there for a couple of years, and then we opened this location on 4th Street in 2011. Camino Bakery is our name because Cary has hiked on the Camino De Santiago, and part of what inspired her when thinking about a retail space was giving people a place to experience community, good food, beverages, and good conversation. Those were some of the top things from her trip on the Camino that she wanted to bring home and embody in our retail spaces. We just celebrated our 8th birthday at the end of July. First and foremost we are a Bakery. We make everything from scratch every single morning. Our bread is fantastic, we’ve got a really talented team of bakers. We probably sell the most at the Cobblestone Farmers market in Old Salem – often more than 175 loaves in a day. Secondly we are a coffee shop! To go with those pastries you have to have a good coffee program. Krankies got our coffee up and running, and we switched over to Counter Culture in 2017. They roast in Durham, and are an awesome wholesale partner that has allowed our coffee program to grow and improve. They offer a lot of free training for baristas. Their certification program has really helped us up our coffee game.
What has being a part of the Winston-Salem community been like for Camino?
It has been really cool! Winston-Salem Downtown has changed drastically over the years. I have been here for ten years, and she grew up here and it has been really cool to see Downtown fill in, and have people invest in Downtown. Biotech place has been really great getting more industry and people into Downtown who are not necessarily working in businesses downtown. Camino has made sure to play an active part in that development. Being here for 8 years everything around here is very different from when we started. There were fewer businesses on 4th street, and Cary Clifford was really good about creating a committee of 4th Street vendors to meet and talk about things they wanted done. Whether it was municipal responsibilities or developing a street fair with free music, Camino enjoyed being part of the Winston community, and playing a part in developing the community as downtown has changed.
Do you have a mission if so what is it?
We are a diverse family of hardworking, creative, intelligent, and respectful people. We are inclusive and welcoming to any co-worker or customer regardless of race, gender, creed, socio-economic level or sexual orientation. We are passionate about making delicious & innovative artisanal food & drinks from scratch using natural ingredients. We strive to be kind to each other and our customers, and create a warm and welcoming atmosphere in our shops and for our wholesale customers. We are dedicated to having a collaborative workplace in which every voice matters. We partner with local businesses, artists, and charities to make our community a better place.
What is your favorite thing about Camino?
One of the best things about Camino is its ability to provide community by means of serving as a common place where people can come together and have real food that is made by actual people from scratch. The way people are able to have a conversation over the counter over a cup of coffee is great. We are all about being present in the community that you are in and giving back to it in a service minded way!
What is Camino best known for?
Definitely bread and our pastries! Our cheesecake is also a huge draw. People love those desserts. More and more often now our coffee program. I would say in the last three or four years we have grown in leaps and bounds in the attention we are paying to our coffee. We really feel as though we have become a leader in specialty coffee in Winston-Salem. We have some of the best baristas in the region right now who are really paying attention to that side of the business. We are also known for being a community space and making good food. Everybody has their own favorite things at Camino. There is not one specific thing we are super known for. We have the cinnamon roll following, we have the San Francisco Sourdough Cult, the Magical Coffee people who come in here and ask for those things all the time!
What is the most fun thing to do in Winston-Salem?
One thing I really love to do is to explore the trails around Winston, specifically the Greenway trail to Salem Lake. It is really beautiful out there and a great space to visit. The trail also goes into Downtown and to the new Quarry Park! I think the RockBox climbing gym is another great thing to do in Winston. I have been working out there a whole lot recently. It is a fun addition to downtown, a new non-gym way to work out. Cobblestone Market at Old Salem is also really great. It is really well curated, and I think if you looked around the Southeast you would be hard pressed to find a market that is as good! I like eating out Downtown, and going to breweries as well.
If Camino was a superhero what powers would it have?
I would say our super power is the ability to brighten people’s days. You can serve them a drink or give them food to give them that energy to move on with their day. You can also engage with them across the counter in a really positive way to be a bright spot in their day!
Anything else you would like Wake Community/Community at Large to know?
I really appreciate what you are doing with this initiative. We love when students get involved, and engage with the Winston community. We want to push students to get outside of their bubble and meet/interact with the local folks around you. That is really what builds community. Also catering! We do cater for a lot of different events. We can make cakes for birthdays, breakfast for office meetings, and we do coffee catering. We ask that if you do know you need something catered by us that you give us 72 hours notice in advance!