Hi everyone, Lauren here. As I sit here in my office it's hard to believe a year has passed. The days were long and sometimes hard, at least in the beginning. After time things smoothed out, but I don't think I can ever say the work that we do is easy.
What started as a dream, and then a long-term goal, became a reality. I am amazed everyday by this beautiful building that we call ours, the amazing team that we have built, the unbelievable quality of our bread and the loyal and lovely regular customers that we have. We would not be where we are today without these things. THANK YOU - yes, YOU. Thank you for reading, thank you for coming to eat, thank you for supporting us. We hope it will continue for many years to come.
With that said, here are some old photos and a few memories from our journey:
One of the more amazing parts of this journey has been our team. When we started training we had over 50 new staff who were about to start working in a brand new restaurant. I still think about that now – the leap of faith that our staff took on us. On our concept. On our ability to run a successful restaurant so that they could receive a paycheck. I am in awe even now of the amazing employees we have. We’ve retained a lot of original staff, which is incredible. Some of the most successful business owners and entrepreneurs always have one thing in common - they surround themselves with people who are better and smarter than they are. I think we can safely say the same thing. We're so grateful to have the best staff in town (we might be a little biased but I don't think we're far off!)
We had contractors in the store finishing up work up until about an hour before we opened on our first day. That was stressful, to say the least. The day of our soft opening we received a call from our head baker at 4AM. He turned on the grain mill and heard a loud popping sound and then all the electricity went out and even after flipping the breakers the electricity did not turn back on. They were in the dark with bread in ovens that had turned off; our Micros computer system was down, we would eventually lose all that bread because it would overproof before we could get the ovens turned back on… We waited until 6AM and called our contractor. That was probably the hardest I’ve ever prayed. I will never forget laying in bed in the dark at 4AM knowing there was nothing we could do and just pleading for God to be merciful on us and let this be an easy fix, whatever the problem was… We arrived at the restaurant around 6:30AM, our contractor and the electricians shortly after. They narrowed it down to a bad fuse and by around 8AM the electricity was back on. The biggest wave of relief I have ever felt rushed over me. We opened for business at 11AM, as planned.
The day of our real opening (January 19) an ice storm was predicted. This is funny only because I actually sarcastically predicted this would happen back in November when we nailed down our opening date. Making the decision to close at 5pm on our first day of being open was super defeating. I went into the bathroom stall and cried (partly from exhaustion, mind you). Nevertheless, we sent our staff home, closed the doors, went home and got in bed by 8PM. As I sank into my pillow for the first time before midnight in about three weeks I realized this was God, in his infinite kindness, giving us a chance to rest that we wouldn’t have taken had we not been forced.
After KY3's story aired, the lines started and they didn’t end. We were all running around like chicken’s with our heads cut off (that description has really never been so accurate). We were so grateful for the business while at the same time trying to secretly hide all the issues we were having with equipment. They say it takes a good three months for any new restaurant to get the kinks worked out and BOY is that true. Every day at least three pieces of equipment would break. Our big oven went down two or three times (forcing us to bake bread unconventionally in our deck oven that couldn’t hold nearly as many loaves); our dishwasher literally went down about 18 times; our grain mill; our convection oven; our sinks; our ice maker; our coke machine; our CO2 tank. You name it, we had a problem with it. I am proud of how our staff problem-solved and made things work (in very MacGuyver-ish ways sometimes).
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for reading and for being part of our story. Thank you for your support, for your patience, for your friendship, for your willingness to help us get better.
All the best,
Lauren & Clif Brown, Owners