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The Roost offers a view of the Bay and a quiet place to chat

Anne Stanton - February 7th, 2011
Afternoon Delight! The Roost offers a view of the Bay and a quiet place to chat
By Anne Stanton
If you’re looking to spend some alone time with your Valentine or a
favorite friend, check out the newly opened Roost—a cheerful nook
above Bay Bread Company in Traverse City.
The Roost is the newest addition to Bay Bread, a corner neighborhood
bakery known for its 40 different homemade breads, sandwiches, soups
and salads. Until now, customers had to order their sandwich or salad
as a take-out or wait for limited seating in the bakery, which can be
busy and noisy.
In this new arrangement, customers will order their lunch downstairs
in the bakery and walk upstairs to the Roost, where their food will be
delivered. The Roost is accessible only by an outside door, but co-
owner Stacey Wilcox plans to take out the pop machine and punch out a
new door, which will allow customers to walk directly upstairs to the
Roost.

A quiet Perch
Wilcox said some people like to dine amidst the bustle of a working
bakery, but others wanted a quieter place to chat.
Diners can gaze out on the beautiful West Grand Traverse Bay as they
enjoy a sandwich or salad from the bakery or sip coffee and munch on
fresh-baked scones and cookies from the Roost’s coffee bar. Wilcox
makes the décor cheerful with ceramic roosters lurking in corners and
signs of advice, like “Drink More Coffee. Do Stupid Things Faster
with More Energy.”
The Roost is also a nice hide-out for someone looking for alone time.
There is free Wi-Fi and baskets of books replete with crime thrillers,
mysteries and literary novels. You’re encouraged to take a book and
leave a book. There’s also a meeting room available for small groups.
Stacey was inspired to create this special space by her late mother,
Lila Malmborg, who died in a car accident on M-115 about a year ago
(a car swerved over the center line).
“My mom was my best friend, and we used to trade books and talk about
them,” Wilcox said. “I wanted to share our love of reading with the
community.”
The “rooster” decor of the Roost was also inspired by her mom, said
Wilcox, who outfitted the Roost with some of her mother’s sunroom
furniture and paintings. Wilcox is chatty and full of enthusiasm for
the bakery, which she and husband Steven bought seven years ago
after moving to the Traverse City area. They formerly worked as food
brokers in the Denver area, serving as middlemen between small
bakeries and Sam’s Club and Cosco. The couple would brainstorm the
kind of bakery products they believed would sell the best, and then
ask the bakeries to make them.

rising dough, Steady Prices
When the couple took over Bay Bakery seven years ago, it was
financially struggling. Wilcox said the bakery’s explosive growth
since then stems from strategic decisions she and Steven made from
the start. First, they decided to bake the same kind of loaves every
day so customers could rely on the supply. Secondly, the couple has
never borrowed money for improvements, which has kept prices low.
Finally, Wilcox, a software engineer by training, takes a systematic
approach to quality and cost control. When flour prices went up
dramatically a few years ago, the bakery was able to keep its prices
in check by just paying more attention to waste. There hasn’t been a
price increase in the seven years the bakery’s been open, she said
proudly.
Bay Bread has a lot of bakery competition in town, but it’s all good, she said.
“Everybody has their own niche and they do it very, very well,” she
said. “You can’t go any other place and get better bread than you can
in Traverse City.”

 
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