October House Bakery is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, and success continues to be sweet for its new owner.
Shane Moore took over the helm — well, OK, the mixer — from founders Karen Brown and Sherry Elmore in 2011.
“They were ready to move on to other things,” says Moore, 40.
Moore first became interested in buying the business back in 2008, but decided to move to eastern North Carolina. When he returned to his native Salisbury, he found the bakery was still available. Having been a district and regional supervisor for Bi-Lo for 18 years, Moore was also ready to move on to other things.
“I wanted to get out of the corporate world and use the creative side of my brain for awhile,” says Moore, who now lives in Landis with his family, which includes his two cats.
After a month-long transition period with Brown and Elmore, Moore began producing October House’s cream-filled oatmeal cookies and no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies.
“Everything is the same,” says Moore, who’s baked for years as a hobby and who’s dabbled in candymaking.
He plans to add variety to the October House line-up at some point, but says, “I don’t want to introduce anything else until it’s a ‘Wow!’ product.”
For now, he’s content to make the bakery’s traditional cream-filled oatmeal cookie, the cream-filled oatmeal pecan cookie, the cream-filled oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and the chocolate oatmeal bar cookie.
His target customers include restaurants and local convenience stores. Longtime customers include What-a-Burger and R&R Barbecue. The cookies are now also available in the gift shops at CMC NorthEast and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Another new client is the Hot Dog Shack in Granite Quarry.
“We have some distributors that go up to the Raleigh area,” Moore says, “but we are predominantly a wholesale operation. We don’t offer a retail store front.”
Indeed, there’s not even a sign in front of the small, non-descript brick building in Rockwell. But the company does have a website, and you can call in orders for delivery or pick-up. Delivery days are Wednesdays and Fridays, and by appointment.
Since taking over the business, Moore has taken his products to local festivals and community events, including the Apple Festival in North Wilkesboro and the Barron D. Goodson Classic Car and Truck Show in Rowan. Afterward, he’s seen a noticeable bump in website orders.
Community support is also important to Moore. He’s donated cookies to Relay for Life, Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Carson 5K for Special Needs Students. A fundraising program is in the works.
After 10 years, Moore realizes it’s time to take the business to the next level. He is considering using an automated production facility. At present, the cookies are still assembled by hand. In the new scenario, someone else would make the product, leaving Moore to concentrate fully on sales and marketing.
In the past three years, Moore has been able to increase his client base, and has also seen an increase in sales and revenue. What he doesn’t want to change is the delicious cookies, of course, and the customer service for which the business has always been known.
Still, he notes, “It’s very hard work. I put in a lot of hours. We’re just excited to see where we go next.”
For more information about October House Bakery, visit www.octoberhousebakery.com, or call 704-279-0437.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.
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