Page 47 - Pastry & Baking Magazine

With quality of ingredients an overriding concern
at your bakery, how do you go about sourcing your
ingredients? Does living and operating on an island
impact procuring ingredients and equipment?
Cost of ingredients is higher on an island. There is no way
around that fact. We will not compromise on the quality
and try our best to hold our prices as close to mainland
prices as possible. We constantly juggle our ordering based
on cost, which days the vendors bring trucks to the island,
upcoming holidays and island events and even weather
predictions. Luckily in our small town, if you run out
of something, chances are another baker or restaurant
can help out with a loan. Equipment issues are perhaps
our most challenging. It is nearly impossible and very
expensive to get equipment repaired. For decades we relied
on my father, a retired engineer, to repair and maintain our
ancient machinery. Working alongside Dad provided Jay
with the basic knowledge and skills needed to carry on. But
he is not an engineer and as old equipment literally ages out
of useful life, we have replaced a fair amount. And when a
repair is not enough to keep something running, the time
and cost of shipping replacement parts can be very high.
Supplying bread to many of island’s purveyors,
what is the percentage breakdown in your business
between retail and wholesale?
We supply all of the town’s grocery stores but not many
restaurants. Most of them either have an in house baker
whom they rely on for desserts as well as breads or buy
frozen, bake off product from their purveyors. We can’t
compete with those (bulk) prices! That being said,
wholesale accounts for about 25% of sales.
What kind of up tick are you seeing from the retail
and wholesale sides with regard to demand for
gluten free and/or sugar free?
Gluten free continues to be a demand. We do not have a
gluten free facility so for the severely allergic, we can not help
them. Our local grocery store has many products available
now for them. For the moderate allergy or intolerance, we
have a handful of gluten free products we stock regularly
and others we bake on special order. As for sugar free, our
Portuguese bread has never had any sugar in it!
In 2009, the Nantucket Bake Shop won the Pillsbury
Makeover Contest sponsored by RBA and General
Mills.What difference did the renovations make in
your business?
The renovations made a huge impact, mostly for my staff.
We changed over to a self-serve beverage cooler and coffee
area including direct plumbing for the coffee maker. The
girls no longer carry pots of water from the sink in the
back, make up individual cups of coffee to order or go
in and out of a cooler for drinks. Most of the customers
prefer this aspect of the new set up. In addition, the overall
view of the products has been improved 100% and it makes
it easier for them to choose their items. We also increased
the usable floor space so more people fit inside the door
and therefore the lines are perceived to be shorter!)