The Journey is the Destination
In 2014 I decided to open a bakery. Why? I don’t know. I’d never worked in a bakery.
I’d never owned a brick & mortar business.
Seemed a perfect fit.
I’ve joked with people that I’ve done just about everything in life except gain financial
wealth. There’s a lot of truth in that, but I’ve enjoyed my life very much because I’m curious;
I jump into things and learn the hard way. It’s fun.
The thing about starting a bakery - when you know nothing about running a bakery - is that
you come into it with no preconceived notions of how to do it.
The downside is that you will make mistakes - a LOT of them - that could have been avoided if you’d only had some experience in it. The upside is that because you’re not burdened with how things are supposed to be, you can discover how things could be.
I wanted to make bread. I had visions of a French bakery full of baguettes and boules and loaves of white and wheat and sourdough and rye. Before I opened, I experimented with all of those things and more. I made flatbread, banket, pastries, English Muffins, stroopwafels, and bagels (including German bagels boiled in lye).
And I made granola.
It was pretty good, but I had an idea to make it even better.
My mother was one of four girls born to a Dutch Reformed minister. They didn’t have a lot of money, and there weren’t a lot of snacks in the house growing up. But my mom had a sweet-tooth, so to satisfy her cravings, she would sometimes make her own caramel on the stove. Necessity is the mother of invention.
I thought to myself, “What if I made caramel from her recipe and mixed it with the granola to act as the binder for granola bars?”.
It was a good question. So I did just that. Except I never got to the the actual “making granola bars” part of it. Instead, I gave out samples of it to friends to see what they thought.
As it turned out, they didn’t care about granola bars. They didn’t even care that I couldn’t legally sell it to them. They wanted it the way it was, and they wanted it NOW.
So I made it, and sold it to my fiends, and eventually opened my bakery and became “legal” so I could sell it to everybody.
I did make bread. And I made pastries. And I made cheesecakes and scones and cream puffs and cookies. And they were all very good. But my dream of running a French style bakery changed over time, because what people really wanted was my granola. So that’s what I made. And now it’s pretty much all I make.
The thing about granola is that everybody knows what it is. Or, rather, they know what it always has been.
They way I make granola is different. It’s soft. It tastes amazing. It’s a pain in the ass to make. In fact, I’m probably the only one stupid enough to make it this way. But it makes people happy, and that makes me happy. That’s wealth of another kind.
My challenge has always been just to get people to taste the granola that I make. One sample at a time, one bag at a time, one customer at a time. But once they do, they all see the difference.
You will too.