Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Cottage Industries - Montana Style: Three Entrepreneurs Under One Roof

Snitko, Snider and Snitko, three home-based businesses under one roof, offering goods and services that combine quality with dedication and working within the values of rewarding home life. Mom Missy Snitko and daughter Karina Snider, 25, are putting their home kitchen through its paces, baking all manner of sweet and savory treats. Connor Snitko, 13, is ready to offer his outdoor services each season of the year.

The Snitko family moved several times, living in Colorado and Wyoming, before reaching Montana 20 years ago. They've settled in Whitehall, owning property and an unfinished house near Upper Rader Creek.

"We moved around a lot and kept going further north, but this is as far as we go; we do love Montana." Missy Snitko said. "The kids were pretty young when we got here, but they've grown to love Montana, and all my eight kids are still here, and they all love the area."

Missy credits Karina with getting them started with food; she asked her home-schooled children what they wanted to do when they grew up. Karina, then 13, answered, "run a restaurant." In 2012 Karina's Café opened.

"As a family, we had started eating better, more healthy foods, more whole foods, so everything was made from scratch, and we tried to get as many local ingredients as we could," Missy said. "We started baking a bit; we did pies, biscuits, and cinnamon rolls."

After a three-year break in the Virgin Islands, where both women worked in a bakery, Karina's Café reopened.

"I was trying to make the cafe more permanent, but then I got married and started a family, so we had to close in June 2020. Once the café closed, we switched to baking from home," Karina said.

With Missy raising three young ones, Karina expecting her second child, and the pandemic closing everything up, working from home seemed the best solution. They had already been doing a lot of baking for the Farmers Market and holiday orders. Doing something they both enjoyed, earning income, and being able to spend time with family created the perfect trifecta

Emerging from the Snitko/Snider kitchen are mini pies, cinnamon rolls, various scones, turnovers, carrot cake, coffee cake, banana bread, gluten-free muffins, wheat, and sourdough bread. A big crowd-pleaser at the Farmers Market is their bacon cheddar biscuits.

Quality is important.

"Everything is homemade. We use wheat Montana flour, local eggs, and fruit as well", Missy said. "Everything else is high quality – organic sugar, no margarine, we use real butter," Karina added. "And we try to keep it simple."

Winter is their slow period, mainly special orders and baked goods for a few coffee houses, including Bluebird Sky Coffee. Once the Farmers Market opens, they usually sell out of their baked goods each week.

Each baker has items she enjoys making. Karina creates a lot of pies and as the creative one of the pair, comes up with new things to try, including cake truffles. The bakers also participate in community events and festivals and do small catering for meetings and openings.

Connor's work takes him outdoors, with a different service each season.

"I started with leaf raking in the fall, then in the winter, I did snow shoveling. Sometimes I do mowing and lawn care in the summer. In spring, I can clean up yards," he said. "I enjoy the work, and I like to earn more income. I like to help out people that need help; I love helping older people. I don't have many people I work for because I haven't found a way to spread the word."

Karina would like to be recognized for her food and she seriously thinks of opening another café or food truck when her children are grown, and she can leave them for longer periods of time.

"If people like my food and tell me, and come back for it repeatedly, that's a huge compliment, so I do like to be known, and I'm starting to get more known in baking and on my own, and that's really nice," she said. "I do miss my café, I miss cooking, breakfast the most. So in my future, I see myself being in food, in whatever that may look like."

While Missy is now known for her food, she's starting to look toward the future. She is studying to become an herbalist, with hopes that people will come to her and learn about specific herbs in nature.

"I so much want to be able to forage in Montana and find everything I need for medicine and culinary as well. I love to bake, but my deep, deep passion is to be able to bring healing, not just giving people herbs but helping them learn how to grow them," she said. "In the future, that's what I'd love to be known for, being able to pass on that knowledge of what we can use in nature, what God has given us in nature to heal ourselves."

For more information: Missy Snitko: 406-439-6068, Facebook, Karina Snider: 406-439-6058, Connor Snitko: 406-439-6058.


Reader Comments(0)