Journeyman Bakery launched in June 2016 as a subscription-based artisan bread bakery. By July of 2019 we were a big hit — even being named “Best of Westchester” by Westchester Magazine — but it turns out our business model couldn’t keep up with the growth of the company, and Michael Sellers —Journeyman’s founder and baker — soon realized that he needed help if the business was to survive.
In July 2019, Journeyman was invited to join Element 46, a new small business incubator sponsored by Westchester County’s Office of Economic Development. Michael put the business on hiatus in order to complete the incubator training program which included a team of business and financial advisors, as well as weekly training classes in subjects ranging from business plan development, to brand marketing, to pitching angel investors.
There’s just one thing missing: a real bread oven!
We’ve baked bread in a home oven, a wood-fired stone oven, an enormous pizza oven — even in an outdoor grill. But the time has come to invest in a professional bread oven, one that can handle up to 100 loaves per bake and has the power to generate lots of steam, critical to developing a thick and chewy crust. The proceeds from this campaign will go towards purchasing a commercial bread oven and having it shipped and installed in our new kitchen in Peekskill. Funding will also cover any electrical or HVAC services necessary to get the oven up and running. We’re looking at a pre-owned electric deck oven made by the MIWE oven company. It’s currently in use at a bakery in St. Louis, MO, but they are prepared to wrap it up and load it onto a truck for delivery to Peekskill — but only with your help!
Journeyman’s new business plan focuses on increasing commercial bread production to support a wholesale restaurant/retail program. We have a goal of baking up to 400 loaves of bread every shift, with 2,400 loaves baked per week. The best way to make this happen includes leasing our own commercial kitchen, hiring staff to support such an expansive plan, and investing in the proper equipment. Journeyman already has several wholesale accounts lined up, but we’ll be making the rounds to conduct tastings for chefs at restaurants across the Lower Hudson Valley once our new oven is up and running. While there will be some limited hours for retail sales at the new bakery, the majority of our bread will be destined for commercial customers who demand a high-quality product that is delivered fresh and on-time. With three years of baking experience, Journeyman is at a point where we know what works — and, perhaps more importantly — what doesn’t. We will have two full-time bakers and well as part-time delivery staff and kitchen assistants. Our bread baking apprentice program will launch in the fall of 2020 and offer a unique career opportunity for those in the workforce who are willing to work hard and enjoy taking pride in a well-baked loaf of bread.