Ameema Ahmed

It might be the hot pink building trim that catches your eye, or it could be the mouthwatering pastries in the window display that grab you. Whatever it is, you’ll feel compelled to stop at Patisserie Jacqui when you drive by. The circa-1950s decor and full pastry case might fool you into thinking you’re at a French bakery, but Jackie Oatman (pictured) has brought classic French pastries to Bisbee, nearly 5,500 miles from Paris.

Unlike many bakers, Oatman says she hasn’t always been into baking — she actually prefers to cook. But that hasn’t stopped her from creating beautiful pastries that taste as good as they look. “I went to pastry school on a whim,” she says. “I’m very proud of what I’ve built and created.”

Originally from Minnesota, where she worked in the restaurant industry, Oatman moved to Bisbee in 2013. She spent five years working in restaurants around town until she had an opportunity to return to baking. Oatman wanted her business to have her name, but she also wanted to highlight the French inspiration behind it. And Patisserie Jacqui was born.

“I opened my doors in the very beginning of February 2019 and quickly learned that it was a huge success,” Oatman says. “It started as me doing fine little pastries, and I still do a lot of that, but it grew. My product offering now is much larger than what I started with.”

Among the newer additions to the menu are scratch-made croissants, which are some of the bakery’s best sellers and also are Oatman’s favorite things to make. “I make a lot of fancy tarts and whatnot — that’s the eye candy that catches people’s eye when they’re walking by the window,” she says. “But I’m really into yeasted doughs and laminated doughs. That’s what gets me really excited.” 

Signature items such as lemon bars and the Bisbee-inspired Lavender Pit Brownies are also a hit with customers. Then there’s the “cruffin,” a cross between a croissant and a muffin. Customers call it dreamy.

While the bakery has been a success in Bisbee, owning a small business doesn’t come without challenges. Oatman says it took her a while to realize that she needed help as the bakery grew, and when she found herself working 80-hour weeks, she knew she had to make a change. “I realized I needed to hire people, but that’s scary in a town of only 6,000 people,” she says.

Although not many Bisbee residents had pastry experience, Oatman took a chance on some new hires and helped train them in her craft. The gambit paid off, because everyone she brought in learned and embraced their roles quickly.

Among the team members is Tiffany Alexander, the bakery’s operations and marketing manager. She met Oatman while they were working at Jimmy’s Hot Dog Co. in Bisbee. When Oatman decided to kick-start her business, Alexander helped her with everything from location scouting and working in the bakery to developing a customer strategy. 

“I was lucky enough to be a guinea pig in the test kitchen days when Jackie was experimenting with tart flavors and techniques, which was a very tasty part of the process,” Alexander says. “I was also a big cheerleader in the early days when she was contemplating taking the leap.” 

Alexander says the “level of creativity and excellence” that Oatman puts into everything is what sets the bakery apart. “It’s edible art in an incredible setting,” she says. “Jackie is a force, an artist and a magician.”

These days, Oatman is focused on crafting a menu that highlights customer favorites but also allows her to do more of what she loves, which is experimenting with yeasted and laminated dough pastries. 

Baked goods can be purchased in person at the Patisserie Jacqui storefront or ordered ahead for pickup. 

Business Information

Patisserie Jacqui
91 Main Street
Bisbee, AZ
United States