---- — Shop Talk is a weekly column featuring locally owned and operated businesses. This week, we talk to Anne Gohorel of Bread Fellows, a bakery in Bovina.
How long have you lived in the area?
We have lived in the village of Delhi for 24 years.
Tell me about your business:
Bread Fellows is a commercial bakery. We just bake bread. My husband sometimes helps me. I baked before, and a year and a half ago I attended the baking program at SUNY Delhi. I started baking (and delivering bread) to the Delhi Farmers' Market and health food store in Delhi, Good Cheap Food. People continued to contact me. My husband (got me accounts with) the little general stores and I deliver to them. Maple Shade Farm and Hill Haven Farm in Stamford contacted me. I have a website and you can contact me.
I bake different types of bread, from something plain such as country French to fancier breads such as multi-grain, olive, walnut raisin, jalapeno cheddar, cranberry walnut, and orange rye.
Describe a typical day in your business:
I bake on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All breads require a pre-dough, which sits for 12 to 16 hours. Making pre-dough is a lengthy procedure. And grains must soak in a tub for 16 hours.
I make deliveries of bread on Wednesday, to the Delhi Farmers' Market, and on Fridays to the stores. Also, I design labels for the packaging and maintain my website.
How did you get started in this line of work?
I've always baked, from the time I was a kid. I never actually worked in a bakery. I used to bake cakes for the Half Moon Café, which is a restaurant in Delhi.
I was a textile designer. I went back to college when I was 38 years old for teaching. I was an art teacher and a kindergarten teacher at South Kortright Central School. I taught for only four-and-a-half years. A year and a half ago, I attended the one-semester baking program at Delhi. When I get interested in something, I get interested in a big way.
Where do you see this business in five years?
I'd like to get some (accounts with) restaurants and a few more stores. The range for delivery is only so far, because of the freshness of the bread. I'd like to expand, but not in an incredibly big way.
What have you learned from your work?
There's no rushing bread making. There is a definite pacing that you don't interfere with. It's a life lesson.
What is the most challenging part of what you do?
It is very heavy work. It's hot; it's very hot in the summer. The delivery area is only so large, and you have to pick and choose what direction you want to go in. There's limitations in that, which is OK.
The most enjoyable?
The lovely people who really love the bread. It's rewarding _ people who love bread. I enjoy formulating recipes and designing labels and the website, and taking pictures of the breads, because of my art background.
What are some drawbacks of doing business in this area?
I don't want people to make large orders. A Friday order should be gone by Saturday. I have to figure out what to do with surplus, if any. It's a guessing game.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
One of the reasons I went into baking bread is that there are no bakeries in this area, and I love fresh bread. The timing was good. I have a fresh, handmade product that is organic, for people that care about that.
What advice would you give to someone trying to enter your field of work?
You have to be prepared to buy (commercial baking) equipment, and there's expense involved. To start up any business is expensive, and the business climate is not good. Also, the energy cost (of running the equipment).
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