Recently, Bloom Bake Shop announced that they would be opening their very first retail location on Pratt Street in downtown Hartford. This is an exciting new step for Monica Beaudoin, who started the business as a “pop-up” bakery in 2020.
The vision for Bloom Bake Shop began when Monica decided to blend the classical culinary training that she had received at Johnson & Wales with a more rustic, from-scratch style of baking that she developed while working as a cafe manager in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, and a pastry chef in Virginia. This was her way of working to “spread joy through baked goods” in her home state of Connecticut during the Covid pandemic. She got things started by selling her products at local farmers’ markets. And, when sales began to pick up, she realized that it might be time to graduate to a dedicated retail location.
However, transitions like that are often difficult for small businesses to pull off successfully. The up-front costs are high, and so is the risk. Fortunately, an interesting “middle-ground” appeared as an option: a commercial kitchen space at Hartford’s Swift Factory.
In 2020, an organization called Community Solutions opened a Swift Factory as a place to help local small businesses, like Bloom Bake Shop, grow. Through its renovation of a former gold leaf manufacturing plant on Hartford’s Love Lane, the site is now home to office and co-working space, commercial lofts, and nine private commercial kitchens, which include shared common spaces for dishwashing, storage, and refrigeration with 24/7 access.
Basing their operations out of Swift Factory allowed Monica to focus her time on product development and expanding sales channels. She not only sold her baked goods at 7-10 farmers’ markets a week but built up her wholesale clients and wedding cake business. Bloom Bake Shop was also one of the recipients of a short-term rent subsidy for the space at Swift, provided through a partnership with Launc[H].
This strategy led to growth, including bringing her sister, Alex, and father, Rich, onboard as business partners, and expanding product offerings to include custom flower arrangements and bouquets for events. With a firm business model, and a loyal following of repeat customers in hand, Monica announced that they will be opening their Pratt Street location over the summer. We couldn’t be more pleased to celebrate this important milestone in their business’ development.
We are also thrilled to see a new, local business opening its doors on Pratt Street. With plans to add a coffee house, flower shop, and event space at the location – Monica and her team are sure to spread a lot of joy to Hartford’s downtown community.
Please join us in celebrating Bloom Bake Shop’s next bold step. And, be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates on the space and opportunities to place custom retail and wholesale orders for their amazing, from-scratch goodies!