Our bakery has been a labour of love from the very start. It started more than a year ago as a "side-hustle" while James & I both still had full-time jobs. I started baking on my time off, and James joined in quite soon after, taking over the bagels & pretzel orders, while I baked all the sweets. We'd pack up our kiddos and take them across town to bake late into the evening (sometimes a little too late - sorry teachers!!). And we'd ask our big kids to babysit the little ones while we did Saturday the morning farmers' markets.
I think having kids pushed us to look for a store front sooner than any rational person would have. The idea of having our own space close to home, and the kids having an office (that ended up doubling as home-school for many months last school year!!) would be a game changer. The store front was going to be a place for me to bake our online orders, and prep for the markets. We had no idea what was coming!! We opened our doors Feb 02, 2021, just days after getting our new ovens installed. We were still learning our ovens, and perfecting the bake times & temperatures for everything, so we were planning a soft open and we hadn't told very many people.
But after LaSalle Town Councillor Jeff Renaud made a congratulations post on the LaSalle Facebook page (and asked us to hold some brookies for him when he was done work), our website blew up with online orders. Our first week we had line ups outside, and we just couldn't keep up. People were buying brookies that were still baking in the ovens, or called dibs on future batches.
James had taken Feb 01-02 off to help prep and cover opening day, but after that, I was on my own with Emily & Elliot (who were 4 and 6 at the time) - jugging the storefront and home school. Luckily Jake at Williams Food Equipment had some great equipment recommendations that helped us scale up super quick. Add some awesome helpers (our friends and friends' kids) to help with dishes & baking, and eventually we'd get caught up and get into the swing of things.
At the start there were many nights we'd be here until after 11pm (again, sorry teachers!!) but we've slowly figured out what works, and now we don't have those super late nights anymore (or one of us will take the kids home to bed while the other finishes up). We still have a ways to go to actually achieve "balance" if it exists. Those of you with your own business totally know how much hidden work goes into it - its totally a labour of love. But we love what we do, we love our amazing customers & the team we've built, and our kids are super proud of our bakery - they love coming to the bakery & to the markets - and to me that's success.
We're gearing up for holiday season now, and expect longer hours leading into the break, but will get to balance it back out after, with a week off to just hang out with our family before jumping back into it all (and getting a coffee machine!!! how excited are you?!?) in 2022.
Wishing you all the best this holiday season!!
Love you all,