ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — In the business of baking, it can be a process to create something that meets customers' culinary expectations.

What You Need To Know

  • Valhalla Bakery is closing its doors in St. Pete in February

  • Celine Beltgens, the owner of Valhalla, cites inflation and supply chain issues as the reason for the closure

  • She plans on consolidating Valhalla with her donut shop, Valkyrie Donuts, into one storefront in St. Pete

  • The grand opening for that new consolidated bakery is expected to happen sometime in March

And many, including Celine Beltgens, owner of Valhalla Bakery in St. Petersburg, pour themselves into their work.

“The whole thing for me is that I am who I am, unapologetically, and I always have been,” Beltgens said.

Despite her dedication to her work, Beltgens says inflation and supply chain issues are forcing her to shut down the Valhalla Bakery storefront.

In 2014, Beltgens, who grew up in Canada, opened Valhalla in Orlando with a smaller donut shop, called Valkyrie, coming just two years after that.

In 2017, business was going so well that she expanded to St. Pete.

“Saint Pete is one of the most magical, wonderful places I have ever lived and is a creative, just beautiful place,” Beltgens said. “And having grown up on an island in the Pacific Northwest, it just had that very creative vibe to it and it just felt like home to me immediately.”

Again, business was so great that she opened another Valkyrie location just five doors down from the St. Pete Valhalla, but, in 2020, the pandemic ripped the carpet from under so many businesses.

“It felt like someone pulled the emergency brake on the St. Pete economy,” Beltgens said.

Beltgens says 2020 was difficult, then in the years that followed, everything rose in price.

For example, gloves to handle food, packaging for her baked goods, and even the ingredients she uses all became more expensive. 

According to Beltgens, inflation caused some prices to increase between 50% to 300%.

“When they were talking about the economy post COVID, it was supposed to be this massive economic boom that just never happened,” she said.

According to the Small Business Index, in 2022, more than 50% of small businesses in the U.S. said inflation was their top challenge, and 2023, for Celine, wasn’t much better.

“This has been one of the hardest financial years I’ve ever had,” she said.

She says she’s put half a million dollars into Valhalla, but after having to do things like use her mortgage payment for payroll, among other problems, she’s deciding to shut down the St. Pete Valhalla and the Valkyrie Donuts in Orlando.

“Like, we’re doing what we have to do to survive to get to the next step and hope that it comes back,” Beltgens said.

Right now, she isn’t confident that’ll happen anytime soon.

In the meantime, Valhalla will be open until the week of Valentine’s Day, where her staff will put together some of her delicious vegan treats to show. Despite these setbacks, her confidence in herself and her businesses is unwavering.

Beltgens plans to consolidate Valhalla into the donut shop in St. Pete so it’ll become Valhalla Bakery featuring Valkyrie sometime in early March.