As I sit here and drink my morning coffee I am wishing that instead I am at Montclair Bread Company enjoying a maple bacon doughnut and a Stumptown Coffee. Before going on to tell you about my experience here is a little background on the company that got straight from the source.
In November 2011, I gave birth to my third kiddo – Mac. For most of our time as parents, Kevin struggled to find gainful employment. He worked in construction and we were in a recession. He decided to commit to being a stay-at-home-dad.
Meanwhile, I was working around the clock in my role as a Research & Development Manager, traveling all over the country to meet with clients and barely making ends meet. I was forever plotting ways to create new income streams for our family. While working full time, I finished an MBA program so I would be eligible for a promotion. I taught classes at the Adult School of Montclair in the evenings. Finally, I submitted applications to area farmers’ markets. I thought, I could bake breads and Kevin could sell them. We could create a family business – spend more time together AND make a few bucks for our household. I quickly discovered, all the area farmers’ markets already had bakers and they weren’t looking for any additions.
As part of my day job, I baked lots of breads to test out recipes for retailers and food service chains like Wegmans, Uno’s, Target and Starbucks. I hated to see the test loaves thrown away. In addition to donating them to City Harvest and other local charities, I brought them home once a week. Kevin & I opened our apartment to 25 local moms who picked up bread for their families. I didn’t charge, I asked only for feedback to aide in my quest to create the perfect recipe!
My “Bread Moms” encouraged me to keep trying to find a market where I could sell my loaves. In April 2012, one of the moms told me about a little bakery on Walnut Street that was for sale. Included in the sale, was a space at our local farmers’ market.
In less than 30 days, I put together a business plan, pitched it to a group of investors and closed on the sale. On May 2nd, 2012, I became the proud owner of the Montclair Bread Company. Who invested in me to make this happen??? My Bread Moms, of course!!! Kathy Walsh, Kelly McDonald & Kelli Deflora were all regulars at my weekly bread gathering. They, along with a friend & fellow baker, Michael Richman, listened to my plan and they helped bring it to life.
In May 2012, I greeted our first customer. If someone had told me then, that people would be lining up at our door for doughnuts on Sundaymornings, I would never have believed them. My whole world was centered around baking wholesome artisan breads…hence the Montclair BREAD Company.
My friend Peter was cleaning out his apartment and he brought me a beautiful copper pot. I showed it to Kyra, a fellow Culinary Institute of America grad, who specialized in savory fare. She advised it would hold heat well and would be great for frying. She immediately started begging me to make her doughnuts while we worked side by side on Sunday mornings at the bakery. I caved. The first batch of brioche doughnuts, made in January 2013, yielded three dozen rings. We coated them with cinnamon & sugar, ate half of them and put the rest out for sale. They were gone in a hot second.
Our second Sunday of doughnuts produced the same results. On Valentine’s Day we made six dozen doughnuts and we introduced Boston Cream for the first time. That poor little copper pot was working hard!
I’m not sure when it happened. Sometime between that first Boston Cream and the line down the street on Mother’s Day, Montclair discovered us. Sunday Doughnuts were a thing!
In late December 2013, I got a call from a producer on the Food Network’s Donut Showdown. He said my doughnuts ‘represent the culinary pedigree’ they want on their show and he asked if I was interested.
In October, 2014, once the episode of our $10,000 grand champion Tres Leches Doughnut aired, the demand for our treats increased and we began making doughnuts seven days a week. Now our customers travel from all over NY, NJ & PA to get a taste of Montclair Bread Co!
Our company currently occupies a 600 square foot space on Walnut Street. In addition, we are opening a 1,290 square foot space on Label Street where we will create all the yummy doughnuts, breads, croissants and muffins for Montclair Bread Co.
The Label Street location will be home to our baking classes too! In addition, we will hold culinary events and community gatherings. Celebrated chefs, bakers & authors will help us to keep our space full of activity throughout the year.
What a wonderful story and it is amazing to see how local businesses can flourish and grow with the help and support of their community and of course fantastic products. Now, I have heard of Montclair Bread Company through word of mouth but since I am not a big donut lover I didn’t think it was a trip that I had to make urgently (I would go when I was in the area). While I was in NJ last Sunday morning it dawned on me to stop by and try out the doughnuts for myself (with my doughnut loving boyfriend of corse). The location itself is beautiful and quaint, they have outdoor seating as well which makes for a perfect spot to spend a fall morning. Immediately the doughnut selection took me aback they had everything from apple cider doughnuts to fruity pebble doughnuts and not only did they sound delicious they looked delectable. We each decided on 2 doughnuts 1 apple cider each and then I went for the maple bacon while he went for the Nutella, of corse nothing goes better with doughnuts then coffee….so we got 2 of those too! Lets save the best for last and talk about the coffee first, I am familiar with Stumptown Coffee from my time working in Whole Foods but I never brewed it I always bought the cold brew. The coffee at MBC was freshly brewed and delicious they had a variety of 1 decaf and 2 caffeinated Stumptown Coffees, I went for the coffee that drew my attention and added in my fixings and boy was it fabulous. Now….for the doughnuts…..I don’t love doughnuts but every fall while apple picking I wait and wait for an apple cider doughnut because who doesn’t love an apple cider doughnut. The first MBC doughnut that we tried was the apple cider, I was not expecting it to meet the farm fresh standards I was used to from apple picking but it did! The apple cider doughnut was simple, flavorful, and perfect, but knowing myself and that doughnuts weren’t my thing, I wast sure if the maple bacon would be something I enjoyed and the Nutella surely wouldn’t be something I liked since it was a stuffed doughnut. Boy was I wrong! The maple bacon was mind blowingly good between the bacon on top, the fluffiness of the doughnut and the maple frosting I was slowly becoming a doughnut lover. Finally, the last test was to take a bite of my boyfriends Nutella Doughnut….YUP I LOVE DOUGHNUTS! What has happened to me? I was the girl who hated doughnuts and stayed far away from them, I was so confused but pleasantly surprised. I think I can say that I am not a doughnut person but I AM a MBC Doughnut person. Unfortunately, MBC is only located in Montclair, NJ so making a morning trip there is not an option for me, but whenever I am in the area next I will surely be stopping by! MBC is more than just doughnuts though, they make breads, sandwiches, and other baked goods, they also sell adorable MBC merchandise. If you live near Montclair, NJ or are ever in the area, take a second out to stop by and try out Montclair Bread Company…you wont be disappointed!
Keep On Keeping On