After a monthslong hiatus forced on them by a global pandemic, the mother-daughter duo that owns Bowling Green’s Little Fox Bakery is ready to try a business strategy that simply isn’t supposed to happen during an economic lockdown: not only keeping their doors open, but opening them in a higher-profile location.
But Alison Taylor and her mother, Diane Taylor, weren’t known for being ordinary during nearly three years at a 314 E. Main Ave. location that was so far off the beaten path that the scent of their fresh-baked cookies and muffins couldn’t hope to waft its way anywhere near the downtown business hub of Fountain Square Park.
And they – as startup business owners – weren’t likely to get a whiff of success, particularly in a commercial activity with a fatality rate no doubt higher than that of the coronavirus.
Yet the Taylors, with a recipe that included poetry readings and art displays mixed with off-the-wall menu items like avocado-with-honey-buttercream cupcakes, were making it through the perilous startup years when the pandemic hit.
Now here they are, setting up shop at a 401 Park Row address that puts them in the heart of the downtown business district.
The Taylors are still setting up shop, moving items from the old location and aiming for an early September opening, but they’re already thinking they might have stumbled upon the recipe for downtown business success.
“We’re hoping being on the square will give us better visibility,” Alison Taylor said. “At the other place we’d get calls from people who couldn’t find us. Being here should make a big difference.”
Her mother agreed, saying Little Fox Bakery’s greatest success at the previous location was with special orders, not with walk-in traffic.
“Just being a block off the square makes a difference,” Diane Taylor said. “We had our eye on this spot for a long time.”
The history of the 401 Park Row address shouldn’t inspire confidence. In recent years, it has been home to a Subway sandwich shop, a Southern Legends restaurant and the CBD Kingdom business – none of which established the type of loyal following Little Fox Bakery will need to become a downtown staple.
This mother-daughter duo sees potential where others have found failure, partly because of their experience at the East Main location.
“We did have a loyal following there,” Diane Taylor said.
They believe that’s a base to build on and can only be enhanced by a more visible location. They’re already brainstorming ideas for the new location.
“We’re not going to open up as early,” Alison Taylor said. “We’ll probably be open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and see if we can catch some of the traffic at night.”
Diane Taylor envisions having some outdoor seating, which wasn’t possible at the other location, and she believes Little Fox will be able to continue some poetry readings and other special events.
Alison Taylor believes the new venue might lend itself to Little Fox offering some specialty coffees and espresso.
Her mother has found encouragement in the reception from her Fountain Square neighbors. She said Jim Steen and Jim Sears from the Morris Jewelry store on the square pitched in to help move equipment from the old location to the new.
“A volunteer crew helped us move equipment and furniture,” Diane Taylor said. “We had people we’d never met helping us out.”
Both Taylors said the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provision of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act has carried them through a shutdown that began for them March 21.
“That was our lifeline,” Diane Taylor said.
Now the partners are ready to start serving up pastries again.
“I was really surprised when the quarantine started how much I missed those regular customers,” Alison Taylor said.
Diane Taylor is anxious to see customers again as well, although she isn’t likely to be greeted by many smiling faces as the pandemic lingers.
“During the lockdown I created a needlepoint with names of people I know only because we opened this business,” she said. “It’s going to be great to see those folks again.
“We’ll be wearing our masks, and we expect our customers to do the same.”
– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.