Tucson Vegan Baker rises during a pandemic
Hannah Houlden is the owner of Houldens Rise Above. Their vegan pastries, which include sales, pop cakes, cookies and more, are mostly sold out at Coffee Times Drive-Thru.
Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star
By Yasmin Acosta for the Arizona Daily Star
If there’s one thing people had plenty of in 2020, it was time.
Time to think and rethink, and in the case of Tucson baker Hannah Houlden, time to reinvent herself.
The COVID-19 pandemic cost Houlden, who has been baking in Tucson for eight years, a steady job as a morning cook at a sorority at the University of Arizona.
While working at the Sorority House, she also built a bakery business, Rise Above, but it definitely wasn’t primetime ready.
After her vacation, she decided to convert her young business into a vegan bakery.
“I took the extra time and went completely vegan,” said the 28-year-old baker.
She switched her surgery to completely vegan to be in line with her vegan lifestyle. She’s been vegan for about five years.
The result was impressive. Within a few months she was able to grow her business from one wholesale account to six: Presta Coffee Roasters, Woops! Bakeshop, Coffee Times Drive-Thru, Korean Rose, Westover Farm and Pivot Produce. She has more than 2,000 people follow their Instagram @ houldens.riseabove.
She also makes a monthly visit to downtown Mesa’s Vegan Drive-Thru at The Nile Theater and sells her baked goods through her website houldensriseabove.com.