Three entrepreneurs savour successful bakery opening

WINCHESTER – Add three friends, a healthy dose of talent and hard work and a dash of a dream. Mix well and bake for 18 hours a day. It all adds up to Simply Baked Catering, a business that tastes better than anything in the world for co-owners Anne Carriere, Claire Faguy and Cheryl Beasley.

The return of a bakery to Winchester was met with enthusiasm as a steady stream of customers poured through the doors at 493 Main St. during its grand opening last month. The three partners were completely humbled by the response.

Co-owners Anne Carriere (left), Cheryl Beasley and Claire Faguy show off some sweet rewards of their hard work after the grand opening of Simply Baked Catering. Press Photos – Schoch

“It’s mind blowing. I never expected the kind of reception that we’ve got. I’m so humbled by the outreach and people showing up. You’re thinking, ‘oh we’re just opening our doors,’ but we have to refill the freezer because it’s totally empty. It’s been just fantastic,” said Faguy.

All three ladies have extensive experience in the food industry, but for each of them it was an opportunity to work for themselves, and each other, doing something they loved that drove them to open the bakery.

“Anne and I were thinking about this for a while because we were always doing it in our homes… if we wanted to advance the business we needed to move out of our home. So it’s an expansion. A cost of putting in a kitchen is a lot. So if you share a kitchen, you share the cost. So that’s where it started. So you don’t have to put out $30,000 on your own,” said Beasley. 

The risk of opening any business can be too much even for the most gregarious entrepreneur, but these three ladies have found strength and harmony within their group dynamic that just works. Carriere tackles the soups, food and catering jobs. Faguy works her magic with pastries. Beasley handles the breads and administrative work. Together, they run like a well-oiled machine.

“We are all equally in love with what we’re doing. It just happens, we pick up the pace for each other. We just really are flying by the seat of our pants, there’s no real plan as to what we’re doing. We’re just all doing our own thing in this space,” said Carriere.

Their enthusiasm and energy is contagious; however, they’re also aware that they’re in a very competitive business. But they believe the time is right for small business with a resurgent interest in local, hand-made food.

“I think right now there’s such a big surge towards locally grown food and organics. Bringing things back in, that I’m hoping, that there’s going to be a resurgence in local enterprise… because people are wanting to know where their food comes from,” said Faguy.

For Simply Baked it is still early days, but they’ve already started providing quotes for catering jobs, talked about hiring additional staff and a future expansion.

“We weren’t even open yet and Cheryl said I’m pretty sure we’re going to outgrow this space and we’re going to need a bigger space eventually and I thought ‘can we just open? What do you mean move?’… but yeah, I think we’re going to outgrow this space pretty quick,” said Carriere.

Whatever the future holds for these three musketeers at the heart of it all remains a simple ideal.

“I’m just a girl that likes to cook and I want you to come and buy my stuff and that’s it. I want to stay in the kitchen and I want to cook. Come eat my food. That’s it. That’s all,” said Carriere.

Faguy added: “You sit there and you look at the world and you think to yourself, okay, where’s my place in the world. What do I do? I bake. Whoop-dee-doo… But if you can put a smile on somebody’s face it’s so worthwhile. Sometimes a really good piece of food, something nourishing, something delicious does just that. Brings just a little bit of sweetness to your life and that does make it all worthwhile.”