With 2017 now here, I am also "here." At our new flagship store. Every day, I have the pleasure of opening and closing the front gate at 144 W. 19th St. What a great feeling. It took me by surprise how significant it is for the bakery to have a home base.
Only open a month and already people are walking in, sharing so many Protein Bakery memories. 18 years' worth of moments I'm finally getting to hear first-hand. Like this one:
"I remember you back in '99, just getting started. When you'd walk in to teach class, I was always hoping to see you carrying those two big bakery bags. I knew, if I could make it through the next 50 minutes, there'd be this sweet reward."
It's wonderful to reconnect with these personal stories from the past. ...And it's just as fulfilling to be introduced to those who shop us around the country and those new snack fans just walking by. And, of course, meet my new neighbors.
"I'm always buying your blondies at Protein Bar stores in Chicago. New Yorkers are so lucky to have an actual shop. Love seeing all these flavors all together!"
"I've never heard of you... the place looks sooo cool!... this is such a great idea!"
While I know I'm lucky to watch the bakery establish itself nationwide and now really take off worldwide, thanks to the internet, bringing thousands of snack-happy people to my virtual door, there is nothing like having a brick and mortar store and greeting bakery shoppers at my actual door. Especially and maybe because the world prefers to function through computer apps. But it's so wonderful to interact with customers in real time. Seeing a face react to tasting a favorite or a new flavor. Making eye contact. It all matters (to me, anyway).
For someone who seeks to add balance to their life, apparently I needed to add a street address. Having this store as my home base is an a-ha moment. It rewards me with positive energy by the hour. I'm thrilled this component is now in my business plan.
Of course, our bakery doings online and on social media will be as chockfull as always. We remain committed to providing the best customer service.
Should you find yourself ever in the neighborhood or traveling to the city, consider yourself invited. I would love for you all to visit me at the store. How else am I gonna learn your names?
I'm looking forward to the bakery's future flavorful adventures. I hope to hear about yours, first-hand.