We have just had our 3rd working Saturday & 2 full weeks of Rex Artisan Bakery shop open to the public. Whoop whoop!
Everybody asks us how it’s going so we thought we should share some of the up’s (& then in another blog, the down’s) of the 1st few weeks.
On the one hand, there’s been lots & lots of Up’s –
1. We are a bakery 1st & foremost 🙂 It’s a huge relief that baking at scale is attracting the same (if not stronger!) lovely feedback on taste, texture & real-ness of the baked items on offer. That’s where it begins & ends really, we designed our food to be world-class. Sausage rolls are a good example – always a sell out favourite at the pop up, it’s quite mind boggling how many we are producing & selling within days of opening. Just today a lovely customer returned after munching his morning buy during a dog walk to say “That’s the best sausage roll I have ever tasted in all my life. I just had to come back & buy 2 more to let my wife taste one” (hoping for his sake that the 2nd was saved back at home for him….)
2. Business is also pretty critical 🙂 Thank goodness for see the giant & steady footfall into the shop. Weekdays are bigger than we ever imagined possible and late morning on Saturday is so busy that 5 of us serve you flat out & yet there was still a queue out the door. So yes, this is more than a viable business proposition, we have exceeded plan already & we only just got started!!
3. Coffee. We love the taste of Monmouth coffee which we selected for the shop, and with experienced baristas to serve you who have received further expert barista training, and delicious full-bodied healthy local Guernsey cow milk – we know that what’s on offer is quite simply the best British coffee you can buy locally. Several lovely Friends of Rex are going out of their way to buy their coffee-to-go from us as a result, and many others are enjoying a sit-down in the cafe. That said, we have had people walking in to try a taster sample carrying – shock horror – a well known high street burgundy-branded coffee cup from further down the parade!!! We’re sure those folks will think to convert in good time… especially if they want to enjoy any more of Rex samples haha.
4. New products. We have extended our range of Sourdoughs significantly since opening – in particular Oat, Groat & Sesame Sourdough, Hazlenut & Apricot and Pumpkin seed & poppyseed. All of them sell out fast, it’s fantastic to witness the support for Sourdoughs in Little Chalfont. These past 2 weeks have also seen the launch of some delicious new sweet delights including, to rave reviews, Luminettes (a croissant dough shaped like a pair of glasses filled with home-made creme patissiere and pieces of Belgian Callebaut chocolate); Vanilla Shortbread and of course the eponymous Hot Cross buns – with & without added apple!!
5. A community service. We have had some lovely comments about how much Little Chalfont had been waiting for an artisan bakery, how we are enhancing the parade, making people’s daily lives happier. And most excitingly, one customer told us that he had now abandoned driving to his previous weekly shop in Chorleywood in favour of walking round the corner to all the shops in the Parade for everything that he needed – he hadn’t been able to do that previously because he had missed the real bread.
6. Decor. As Loyal Friends of Rex many of you have followed our blog, and so know the thought & time (& argh, money!!) that went into creating the space in No. 4 Chenies Parade. It’s so gratifying to hear that many of you love the use of oak & reclaimed wood, the colours, the tiles, the lights, even the funky scaffolding for the shelving! And that seeing through to the real working bakery & all our ovens & equipment is an added bonus, just as planned 🙂
So the six of one story gives us tremendous confidence, hooray!
But we have to be honest, on the other hand there have been challenges as well – our till system & card payments still aren’t live, working out the rhythm of the village & product demand etc etc. We’ll tell you about the “half a dozen of the other” very soon when we have solutions!!
Meanwhile, we really want to thank all you Loyal friends of Rex Bakery for your ongoing patience & support – you are FANTASTIC!!! Please keep with us xx