The Bread Guy delivers a whole loaf of happiness
The Bread Guy cast and crew, in the store in North Grafton on May 18: Kim, Julia, Micaela, Brandon and Owner Chuck Brown.
By ROD LEE
What is a man who is experiencing some stress after a long stint in education do to find relief?
Why, bake bread of course.
“I was stressed, I’m sixty, that’s enough, I did my thirty-five years,” Chuck Brown, the Bread Guy in North Grafton, said on the morning of May 18th.
A baguette from the Bread Guy store, fresh out of the oven.
It helps bring comfort to him that Mr. Brown sings, too, including at St. James Church for the 9 o’clock Mass; and that he is possessed of a jocular nature, as for instance when, uncertain of the purpose of a first-time visitor to the store he chirped, as he pointed to one of his staff people, “I didn’t do it, it’s her.”
His upbeat personality goes hand-in-hand with the mantra he has adopted for his venture: “great bread equals great happiness.” The expression is posted in the window at the front of the store.
“I was a music teacher and I conduct the Grafton Community Chorus,” he said.
The Bread Guy occupies a spot, in a small plaza on Worcester Street. Mr. Brown’s business has been in the location for only seven weeks or so but is already receiving rave reviews from customers (a cranberry walnut baguette with Craisins attracted my attention, and cost just five dollars).
“I did this out of my house for two years,” Mr. Brown said, while also conversing with a group of patrons who had just come in the door. “I started making bread for friends and was doing 300 to 400 loaves a week, using two small residential ovens.”
Now he is doing sixty to seventy loaves a day, and one hundred or more on weekends.
The Bread Guy’s story is not limited to the commodity he makes. It is also related to the partnership he has forged with the Grafton Public School’s GAIN, or Grafton Achieving Independence Now, program. The idea, which was presented to him by Superintendent of Schools Jay Cummings and Special Education Assistant Director Nicole McDonald, was to find a business and help special-needs kids,” he said.
With Mr. Brown’s own background in special education and as a former teacher and principal, the proposal clicked in his mind; especially coming out of COVID, when he was looking for a new start. He now employs several post-graduate students, age 18 to 22.
His wife Patty Brown, who is director of human resources for the Marlborough Public Schools, and his daughter Cassie, who is 16, help out in the store.
Moving the operation out of his home and into a retail space was a bit scary, Mr. Brown said, but the school system helped facilitate that transition and everything is going smoothly so far.
Mr. Brown is well known around the area for his bread, and will be making an appearance at farmers’ markets in Westborough and Grafton this summer.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.