I have been bursting with exciting news. Baker’s Treat is changing our name! It has been a long time in in the works. Mostly because the feedback we receive tells us how little customers KNOW what we do and why we do it. It is tricky, we love Baker’s Treat, but most folks think only of our award winning baked goods and bakery…not our award winning café.
We do not ever want to limit our apprentices. We want to grow our business, especially catering, so we can take our message to the community about what the differently-abled can do if given meaningful support.
And then I started thinking about the journey we have been on:
If we constantly listened to the world, everything would always be impossible. I know, because that is where I started with Baker’s Treat.
You cannot have a successful nonprofit without government funding, it is impossible. Wow. We have heard that so often.
You cannot successfully run a “business” as a nonprofit – it is impossible. Sigh.
Your child will never speak, will never write or read. It will be impossible for your child to be independent. Double sigh.
You cannot run a bakery or kitchen, you are too young – it is impossible. Triple sigh.
Yet, all of these things have happened in a place where impossible has been removed from our vocabulary. A few years ago I was swept up in the impossible mindset:
I’m never going to be fulfilled by my job, I’m never going to be happy, I’m never going to be successful. And now? I see the “impossible” become possible every day. All it truly takes is a team, a family, to believe in everything you possibly can be. Most of all, believing in yourself, forgiving yourself for being human, and persevering on after you stumble.
I was young, I was green, I was unsure of myself as a professional, and as a human being. I was constantly floundering with the idea that there had to be more, this can’t just be it. I was pushing myself out of toxic environments without truly understand what I was doing. Until I was given the opportunity, the opportunity to not only be me, but grow into a better version of myself.
And here I am today, working relentlessly against the impossible and witnessing it transform from maybe-probable-we are doing it!
Have I made some mistakes? Of course, I’m only human. But I’ve achieved more than my stagnant “it’s impossible” mind could have ever imagined. I have now successfully run two kitchens at once, and by successfully, I mean being awarded a Top 20 Bakery in the state of NJ two years in a row. Me, the young girl with a dream and the feeling that no one would ever give her a chance.
My greatest achievement so far?
Being able to be a significant part of everyone of our apprentices’ lives each day. Whether it is through high fives, letting them know they did a great job, or taking the time out of the day to teach them something they did not know before. It could be the hardest of days with difficult customers, annoying vendors, and suddenly the sink is pouring into the hallway. But at the end of it all, our hearts are all full, because within that hard day, one of our apprentices reached another milestone. The amount of times we have cheered, laughed, danced around in circles in celebration certainly outweigh the times we have been stressed.
One of the biggest examples that sticks in my mind in the past year could possibly be our apprentice Zachary. Zach never lets a day go by that he does not remind us that we are crazy. We will ask him if we are the good kind of crazy or the bad kind of crazy, and he will giggle and exclaim “the best kind of crazy!”. When I met Zach, he would not even look me in the eyes when speaking, he would get all red, clam up and walk away. Nowadays? He bursts through the door and b-lines it for staff, to give us hugs, smile and look us in the eye with the happiest of good mornings you have ever seen! The same guy who looked at me on Saturday (his birthday party) and smiled the biggest smile you have ever seen and said to me “Ashree, I’m not sure why, but I’m just SO happy”. The same guy who has written me full page notes about his day at his second job and the cake he wants for his birthday. A blessed celebration of what it means to remove the barriers and boundaries, in our minds Zach can do anything, so in Zach’s mind he can do anything.
Therein lies the message behind our name change… Inside every heart and soul in the Baker’s Treat building lies multitudes of gratitude. We have growing pains, we stumble, and we sometimes find ourselves stuck in the impossible mindset. However, we excel through the uphill climbs with grace, ease, and hysterical laughter. All of this shows in every aspect of the customer experience here, from the atmosphere to the love you taste in our food. We want to share our gratitude for life, milestones, and great food. So please join us in our ever changing journey, we would love to have you along for the ride.