My favorite part of owning a small business is the dexterity I have when it comes to decision making. I don’t need to sit around a boardroom table and discuss options. I don’t need to have sign off from multiple levels across multiple departments. There isn’t a consumer panel review. I just take a leap of faith.
A couple months ago, the Montclair Bread Co. team realized April 1st was a Monday. Mondays are typically the slowest sales day of the week. We started kicking around some ideas for April Fool’s Day doughnuts and someone suggested we turn the whole bakery into a taco shop for the day. Montclair Taco Co started snowballing…before I could stop the momentum, Jessie designed a new logo and there was a menu in place. Then I thought, since we’re already MBCo, we should make burritos instead of tacos and so the plan began.
I’m notoriously bad at keeping secrets especially when I’m excited about a new menu. I managed to go for 2 months without telling anyone!!! The teasers started going out on social media a week before the big day. I finally cracked when text after text from friends started filling up my phone. I didn’t want anyone to think I was crazy enough to buy a taco truck or host a Cinco de Mayo 5K (although that sounds like a blast!!!) so I started letting the cat out of the bag.
Over the last couple months, we had signs printed, staff shirts made to mimic- and stickers customized. We were ALL IN!
I spent all day Friday roasting chicken, brisket, pork, tomatillos and jalapenos. The bakery smelled like a Mexican grandma’s house. I made horchata for the first time…won’t be the last! On Saturday, I started testing the tortillas. I figured out how to steam them using my bread oven and I practiced my rolling technique.
Sunday night was the big reveal. I posted the following message on Instagram & Facebook.
“It has been almost seven years since I launched Montclair Bread Company, in a tiny little space on Walnut Street. During this time, I've worked around the clock to bake the best artisan breads and doughnuts, often starting in the early hours of the morning to make sure everything is ready in time for the doors to open at 6am.
After much consideration and longing to have more sleep and balance in my life, I've decided to leave the Montclair Bread Company behind. Today, I am relaunching this business and am happy to announce the opening of the Montclair Burrito Company!!
Breads will always be my first love, but I am so excited to turn our favorite staff meal into the heart and soul of my business. Please stop by to try one of our new signature burritos (including the breakfast kind!), tres leches doughnuts, churros, conchas, or a bolillo roll! Join us tomorrow, April 1st, as we embrace a new menu and a new start!”
I spent the rest of the night reading customer comments on social media. I was shocked at how angry so many people were when they read the news. The majority of our fans picked up on the joke and a few people were very hopeful about actually getting burritos!!!
I arrived at the bakery at 3:30am to help shape bolillo rolls and finish off the conchas. I had to start cooking rice and get all the meats and beans ready to go. Apparently, the bakery doesn’t have enough electrical circuits to support all the food holding devices I needed for the burritos! Oops.
The first customer in the door asked how she could get her own Montclair Burrito Co. shirt and then we were off to the races!
Weekly Training Log
Plan: SWIM 2300
Reality: BAKE 3AM
Plan: RUN 3x (200, 100 recover, 200, 400 recover, 1000 @ 7:00 pace, 400 recover)
Reality: I woke up too sick to go to the track at 5am with the Sunrise crew. I unlocked the clubhouse and went back to bed where I stayed until I had to go to court in the afternoon. Three hours later, after I finally got back to Montclair, I was filled with just enough rage to nail my track workout like never before. As it turns out, I can still harbor enough anger post-divorce to run fast.
Plan: SWIM 1550; BIKE 60:00 workout
Reality: Done and Done!
Plan: RUN 60 minutes
Reality: Turned into a bit of an unplanned workout when I sprinted to make it to Lorraine to open the bakery before the group run. Didn’t quite give myself enough time to run there but I made it with 2 minutes to spare.
Plan: GRIIT @ Architect Studios
Reality: BAKE 3am, 5am, 7am - continuous check-ins with the staff to make sure everything is going as planned with intermittent napping
Plan: RUN 1:30 minutes
Reality: Completed as planned. Even managed to squeeze 10 miles into my allotted run time for the week!