A history lesson behind Boulder locals’ favorite morning spot.
Boulder locals have long known of Spruce Confections as a meeting place for early morning coffees, incredible scones, lively music during the summer, and incredible views of the Flatirons from the flagstone patio at the Pearl Street location.
But few know how their favorite morning hang got its start. David Cohen, the mind behind Spruces’ three locations and wholesale business, began the business much by happenstance and a habit of saying yes.
In college, Cohen was at Oberlin Conservatory studying music composition (look closely at Spruces’ logo, and you’ll notice music notes floating close to the baker) when he joined a food co-op called Old Barrows during his senior year. Along with a friend, he ran for dessert chair, and lucky for those of us who love Spruce, they won.
“I just became obsessed with dessert!” David says. “I would drive to Cleveland and go to bookstores and sit in the aisles and memorize recipes and just study them.”
All his studying paid off, and quickly his co-op had to keep his bi-weekly dessert days a secret—or members of other co-ops would flood Old Barrows after Cohen’s cheesecakes, truffles, and gourmet dessert options. And the rest, as they say, is history. Well, the rest was actually a few more coincidences and a little bit of fate.
After graduation, Cohen moved out to Boulder where he worked at a sandwich shop while trying to get a music career going. One day, a woman came in to inquire about local coffee shops. She sold a brownie, she explained, and suddenly a light bulb went off in Cohen’s mind.
“And that day I wrote in my journal, if she can do it, I can do it,” Cohen says. “I had a hundred books on my name, and so I went to Walgreens and bought a metal bowl a wooden spoon, and I made my Old B Cookie, which was named after the co-op, Old Barrows.”
The Old B. Cookie quickly became a favorite in local coffee stores and institutions like The Trident.
A few weeks after he started selling his cookie to The Trident, the manager there asked him if he delivered on Thanksgiving—and if so, could he bring in some morning options that day, say, scones?
“They were really simple lemon currant scones,” Cohen says, but people loved them.
To take his scones to the next level, Cohen stared adding it different flavors and textures by way of fruit.
“One day I made the dough and then realized I forgot to add the berries. And I really didn’t want to throw all this dough out, so I started cutting the dough into pieces and smashing the berries into the middle.”
From that accident, Spruces’ famous layered scones were born, and those were really what put Cohen, and Spruce on the map.
For now, Cohen seems to be pretty satisfied with his three locations and his burgeoning wholesale business, but the options at Spruce will keep on growing.