Abbey of the Genesee

When the Abbey was founded in 1951, one of the founding members baked special loaves as a way of thanking volunteers who had helped with the work of establishing the abbey. Soon, a bakery was opened and the monks began supporting themselves with their old-fashioned, hearty bread. Locals and visitors loved the bread so much that by 1956, a large commercial-style bakery was needed to keep up with demand.

The current renovation was driven by the monks’ wish to separate the noisier functions of the bread store from the more sacred, contemplative areas such as the chapel and retreat areas. Heather DeMoras Design Consultants listened to these needs and helped create a new store, corridor connector, conference area, restrooms and retreat lobby that tied in to the existing aesthetic of the Abbey.

Throughout, natural materials such as stone and wood surround visitors with an experience rich in texture and warm tones. Vibrant signage helps tell the story of the Monks’ long history and provides a visual connection to the generations of devoted monks who have labored in the Genesee valley. New flexible lighting in the retail areas can be directed to highlight changing displays, and soft warm uplighting provides a cozy welcome in lounge areas and corridors.