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Travis White's homemade croissants on a wooden tray

These are more than croissants.

They symbolize family, community, and how a Providence Day computing and innovation educator used math and analytical skills to start a bakery.

Travis White is the founder of Pavé Bakery, a team that uses local ingredients to bring the best flavors of North Carolina to the pastry world, according to his website. Mr. White and his entire team of 10 to 15 people - all but two are educators or have worked in a school - use local ingredients and bake in a communal kitchen in Charlotte.

Travis White photo collage of his croissants, cinnamon rolls, teaching robotics class, Pavé Bakery logo, and him

He and the staff start baking Saturday mornings at 2:00 a.m. Pavé specializes in homemade croissants.

“I love pastry,” Mr. White says. “When I go on vacation, I start by mapping out the bakeries. I was worried I would get sick of them. I bake once a week. But I have a deeper appreciation for my croissants because I put so much time, effort, and love into them.”

Pavé baked goods are available at various farmers markets around Charlotte, including in Waxhaw and Cotswold markets. Goods also can be preordered and delivered.

“You can learn just about anything with YouTube and spreadsheets if you have the right mindset,” says Mr. White, who had never considered opening a bakery prior to Pavé. “Mastering recipes isn’t hard, either. It’s about technique. Once I got the technique down then I started diving into the science, and then my croissant was made. My recipe has more butter in the dough than most. So it’s a rich and deep flavor.”

Mr. White came up with the bakery’s name from his first international trip to Paris and Rome prior to the pandemic.

“When I got to Paris, there was a huge heat wave; I got sick. I was miserable,” he says. “But there was a bakery two blocks away, and they served these little balls of dough with meat and cheese called pavé, which means ‘cobblestone’ in French. I ate so many of them because they tasted like home and were comforting.

“That’s when I came up with Pavé. I thought, ‘Pavé sounds good.’”

From flowers to flour

Going on his eighth year in education - he attended James Madison University - Mr. White has always had a side hustle, as he calls it.

“It’s one part necessity,” he says, “one part creativity."

He tutored prospective law school candidates on the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, at the University of Virginia. He started a flower farm. Then, his attention turned to baked goods - primarily croissants and farmers markets.

“I started to collect data at the markets in the area,” he says. “I looked at how many people were going and estimated how much they spent. I started spreadsheets and found a big gap - high-quality pastries. I went to all of the bakeries and did the math and cost analysis.”

Mr. White attended his first farmers market in Waxhaw in June 2023. He baked 250 pastries and sold them out. A line wrapped around the center aisle of the market.

“What was really cool is I was able to use my analytical side to make things more efficient,” he says. “And make sure my finances were in order.”

He’s also leaned on his family for help since that first farmers market. His parents help clean dishes, make some of the croissant fillings, and restock at the markets when needed.

“You can’t ever really do it on your own,” he says. “You need help, and I’m grateful for that help.”

Besides croissants, Pavé also offers a variety of cinnamon rolls. Mr. White says he’s starting to expand the French bakery style to create unique and different flavors.

“I always have breakfast with my croissant the Sunday after a market,” he says.  It’s like an appreciation, a time to be grateful. It’s special when I take a step back and see the bigger picture and all of the different parts that go into it.”

Follow Pavé on Instagram for markets and pop-up dates.