Thursday, December 14th, 2017

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Gingerbread Homes LLC builds on holiday tradition

 

 

 

Owner of Gingerbread Homes LLC, Jon Thibo started constructing handcrafted gingerbread structures as part of his own family holiday tradition.                His mother began the tradition of making Christmas gingerbread houses with her nine children. Thibo and his wife Ellen continued the tradition with their own family.

Over the years, Thibo began entering his gingerbread creations in competitions. After retiring from his full-time career, he decided to turn his hobby into a sweet new business.

Thibo initially baked gingerbread out of the Cleveland Culinary Launch Kitchen. He now works out of Frickaccio’s on Lorain Rd. in Fairview Park. “Terry Thomsen from Frickaccio’s and Feel Good Dough opened up her space on Lorain Rd. to me and to another West Side Market vendor, Reilly’s Irish baker, as well as to Misfits Brewing Company, which produces kombucha mix,” he said.

Gingerbread Homes LLC sells blank canvas undecorated homes, with or without a decorating kit, as well as fully decorated gingerbread homes with royal icing and candy. They come in four sizes, including ornaments, small, medium and large houses. Thibo said he can fill bulk orders for groups. He estimates that he sells about 800 gingerbread homes during the holidays.

Thibo participates in many seasonal events. He is a regular competitor in the “Glow” show at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. He also participates in the Cleveland Flea Holiday Market, the Cleveland Bazaar at the Lake Effect Studios, and Winterfest at the 5th St. Arcade. For the second year in a row, he was invited to showcase his gingerbread creations at Town Hall restaurant in Ohio City. “Families come in to decorate gingerbread houses and then they have dinner. It’s like entertainment inside of entertainment,” he noted.

This year, Thibo was also a part of the holiday festivities at b.a. Sweetie Candy. “Sweetie’s new store is a huge facility, with a soda and shake shop and an ice cream store. I sent the owner of Sweetie’s a letter back in August, along with a copy of my bakery license. He called me right back,” Thibo said. “I think fresh gingerbread houses belong at the world’s largest candy store.”

Thibo said that one of the most challenging projects this year was creating 25 centerpieces for his daughter Rachel’s wedding in September. “She asked a year ago if I could do it. I used 125 pounds of flour to create them and they were covered in candy. Everybody helped, including her future husband’s mother and sister. We had a lot of fun,” he said.

The gingerbread business has given Thibo an opportunity to make new friends. He even discovered that there is another Jon Thibo in Northeast Ohio. “He is the music minister at St. Columkille parish in Seven Hills,” he said. “He was approached by parishioners who wanted to know how he found the time to enter a gingerbread house in the Botanical Garden show. He found me. This was like a Kevin Bacon moment. I was one of the judges of a cake contest that the church held a few weeks ago. I donated a gingerbread house to a fundraiser that his choir had to raise money for a trip to Rome in 2018.”

A portion of the proceeds from Gingerbread Homes LLC go toward a scholarship at Rocky River High School given in Thibo’s sister Susan’s name. Susan was a French teacher at the school. She passed away from ovarian cancer in 2007. Thibo and his siblings commemorate her by acknowledging a promising high school senior who plans to pursue a degree in foreign language.

Thibo said they are also involved in charity projects with The Gathering Place and with Welcome House.

Visit www.gingerbreadhomescle.com to learn how to build your own holiday tradition.

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