Hello & Happy 2022!
I usually am not at a loss for words. Today, however, feels a bit different. Perhaps it’s because I’m still digesting the news I am about to share.
As many of you know, I started this company in my home kitchen years ago. 2005 to be exact. In 2010, I transitioned from my home kitchen to a tiny kitchen at the Stow Minute Man Airport. In 2013, I purchased a piece of equipment that literally didn’t fit into the tiny kitchen. The door wasn’t wide enough, the drop ceilings too low. I had to make a decision: stay at the airport, return the piece of equipment, stay small, or…do the opposite.
The answer felt easy-ish and clear.
We had just started selling our products to independent retailers in the Boston area, and in every single way, I believed we had so much further to go. I reached out to my friend who helped me find the space at the airport. She started looking for a new place, discovered Phoenix Park in Shirley, and we relocated here in 2014.
I remember this transition as if it just happened. From packing up my cookbook collection and peeling pictures of my kids off freezer doors to checking in on the progress of the buildout and building shelves and tables with my team. Roller skating around the bakery. The Bob’s: Bob the builder, Bob the equipment guy, Bob the plumber. The lease that had a special clause giving us the option to reduce the amount of space we rented in case things didn’t work out well. Receiving a delivery from the same supplier who once backed his truck up my driveway to deliver one case of butter, a bag of sugar, a bag of flour, and a half case of eggs.
What I remember most was the huge sense of relief of knowing this was our final home.
We had so much space we shared it with a chocolatier and a granola company.
Years passed, the chocolatier and the granola company left, our business grew, and the kitchen slowly filled with more people, tables, racks, and ingredients. We sublet space from a fellow tenant at Phoenix Park to store packaging. We rented more space from another tenant. We rented space across the parking lot. We shifted, adjusted, and re-organized the spaces so many times and in a dozen different configurations. When someone uttered the words ‘we need more space’, I shook my head.
Never again. We’re fine.
We added two ovens, more racks, a new depositor, a bigger sheeter. We squeezed as much as we could into and out of this space until one day I finally came to terms with the fact that I was wrong.
This wasn’t our final home.
It hit hard.
Where would we go? How would we get everything here into a new space? From location to funding to Covid and supply chain issues, this felt like a puzzle too daunting to unpack.
After 6 months of searching, 6 more months of negotiating, 4 months of working with people from two different state agencies, 3 months of counting pennies, 2 months of reading legal documents, 1 very long month of praying, and a critical meeting that I almost missed, I am thrilled to share this news:
This summer, Bisousweet is moving to Leominster!
I am excited in an anxious knot-in-the-stomach/heartburn kinda way.
I almost can’t believe it.
The pangs of nostalgia are hitting me just like they did when we signed the lease to build the facility in Shirley. So many great memories are contained in this space. Some deeply painful ones too. Each moment a part of our collective journey forward. From co-workers coming and leaving, bakery babies and puppies, our first shipment to Whole Foods, our last end-of-year inventory count in this location, navigating our way through Covid and so many lessons learned the hard way, the time spent here in Shirley will stay with me forever.
The number of people and businesses who have shown up for Bisousweet and me over the years is humbling. Without question, this upcoming move is happening because of the brute effort and borderline insane determination of dozens of people.
And folks, in case you were wondering…this actually is our last move.
I have a good sense about things like this.
With gratitude for everyone who is along for the ride with us.