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Jenny Johnson

Pudgy Girl Bakery

Interview No. 27

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"I feel like Rochester is a quilt and with each new business we are adding a new and beautiful patch to the ever growing community."

What part of Rochester are you from?

I'm not originally from Rochester. I am from Auburn, a small city in the Finger Lakes, about an hour away from Rochester. I moved to Rochester to attend RIT and to study photography.

What is your favorite part of living in Rochester?

My favorite part of living in Rochester is the diversity of culture, people, and location. Rochester has so much going on for its size. There are clubs, art galleries, tons of festivals, independent movie theaters, historical places, The Public Market, and tons of great parks and places to hang out. People here are very down to earth and friendly. I also love that I feel like I live in big small town that is surrounded by the beauty of the Finger Lakes.

Do you have any favorite/secret spots?

I love going to Mt. Hope Cemetery, Mendon Ponds, and Highland Park. There are little nooks and crannies in each of these places that I really enjoy going to. I also like hanging out at the Hungerford Building because there are so many different artist studios there, and always something new to discover.

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What is your favorite time of day to hang out in the city?

I love the early morning when the day is just starting to happen and people are just starting to hustle and bustle.

Describe your dream Rochester day.

My dream day in Rochester would be going for a walk along the canal in the morning, then going to the Eastman house, having lunch at the Red Fern, catching a movie at the Cinema, having dinner downtown and maybe drinks at the Daily Refresher.

Do you have a favorite neighborhood?

I think my favorite neighborhood is the South Wedge. There are so many unique stores, restaurants and activities going on down there.

Favorite bar?

Daily Refresher.

Favorite hungover eating spot?

Vive, they have an exceptional brunch.

What is your personal coping mechanism for cold/gray weather?

I love spending time when at my kitchen, especially when the weather is bad.

What is your favorite Rochester memory?

The first year I lived here for my birthday, my boyfriend took me to Dogtown for lunch, then to Strong Museum of Play, and then later out to dinner. It was an awesome day.

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I fell in love in Rochester when I moved here, and I wanted to plant roots here.

What makes Rochester unique?

I think what makes Rochester unique is that we are experiencing a renaissance of sorts. We used to be a city that had massive large corporations such as Kodak and Xerox, and now we are city of much smaller businesses. I feel like Rochester is a quilt and with each new business we are adding a new and beautiful patch to the ever growing community.

What do you think could be improved?

I feel that one thing that could be improved is the bureaucracy of the city and county government. Let's try to make it a bit easier to be a small business, not harder.

If Rochester were a drink, what would it be?

A Dark and Stormy.

Why did you decide to start a business in Rochester?

I fell in love in Rochester when I moved here, and I wanted to plant roots here. I wanted to not just live in the community, but be a part of the community. That is why I started a business here.

What is the best part of owning a business here?

I get to interact with people all the time, and I really enjoy meeting new people and seeing people I already know.

Do you have any advice for up-and-coming Rochester entrepreneurs?

The only advice I have for other new businesses is to seek out people who have already established themselves in Rochester. Ask a lot of questions, do your research, and surround yourself with people that can help.

Jenny Johnson is a photographer, vegan baker, and local business owner. What started as a part-time job to supplement her freelance photography income, expanded into a full-blown business, Pudgy Girl Bakery. Check out more of Jenny's insights and delicious baked goods on our Instagram.