By DAN SMITHSteve Hartman, the virtuoso musician who moved to Roanoke 16 years ago to introduce a level of European bread baking to the area that it had not experienced before, has retired and sold his bakery to a baking family.
On the Rise Bakery, which sits in the center of Roanoke City Market, will pass to Jeff and Teal Batson, owners of the Wildflower bakery and cafe at Towers Shopping Center Sept. 1. Hartman assures that nothing will change, except that a few lunch items will be added. On the Rise has been the home of the authentic hard crusted, soft centered European-style bread since Hartman's arrival.
Hartman, who has two master's degrees in music, had been with the Kennedy Center opera orchestra before moving to Roanoke. He had taught music and also been with the U.S. Air Force Band for some time before that.
Hartman and his artist-wife Julia own the building that houses On the Rise and they have developed the two upper floors into offices and an apartment.
Hartman says he plans to play music and travel in retirement.
(Update: Doug Waters, director of Downtown Roanoke Inc., added this: "The Roanoke Community owes Steve a heartfelt thanks for bringing us his fine breads from On the Rise. We can only hope that the Batsons continue the tradition and save all the great breads [just about all of them are great!] while adding some new lunch options--great bread calls for great accompaniments.")