Bakers Journal

Paying Attention

December 3, 2007
By Jane Ayer

“You will love this bakery,”

My husband is a grade four teacher and we recently headed out east during his March break to visit my family in New Brunswick. After going out for breakfast with my sister in Moncton one morning, she suggested we stop in to visit one of her favourite bakeries, McBuns Bakery.

“You will love this bakery,” she assured me.

Now I happened to be familiar with McBuns. At Bakery Showcase a couple of years ago, McBuns owner Bob Caron wandered past the Bakers Journal booth and stopped to introduce himself. I promised to pop in to visit him if I had a chance the next time I was in New Brunswick. But my visits to the province are usually
pretty packed with family time, so I never got a chance to stop by the bakery. This particular March break visit found me in Moncton more often than not, and on that weekday morning we pulled into the McBuns parking lot and walked into the bakery.

Bright, spacious, and warm with lots of light, so much product and so many great smells, I fell in love with the bakery before I even tried any of its treats. That immediate first impression is such an important one, and my impression was of a bustling, clean and straightforward business that knows what it’s doing. My sister pulled us over to the square counter, which particularly enchanted us (perhaps it’s the Maritime blood, a bit of which even my Toronto-born husband carries), and we stood with mouths watering, trying to decided which treat we should reward ourselves with.

While we made our final selections, I heard someone say, “Is that Jane Ayer over there?”

I turned to see owner Bob Caron coming towards me, hand outstretched, smile on his face. While working out back, his production manager, whom I had also met at Bakery Showcase, looked up through a window from the production area into the retail store and recognized me. Caron took all three of us on a quick tour of the retail store and through the production area. Just last year, McBuns doubled its floor space to 8,000 square feet to make more room for both customers, staff and also new lines of bread and pastry products. The new space is well-lit, and very well spaced out, which no doubt has made the staff very happy. After a 10-minute tour, we returned to the front of the store, purchased our squares (and, on impulse, also bought hot cross buns piled high with swirled icing) and left, all of us impressed not only with the hospitality and friendliness of Caron and his staff, but also with the business itself, its layout, its warmth, and its products.

Now the moral of this story is not to make sure you recognize and acknowledge me anytime I stop into your business (although it would be nice). The lesson to be gleaned from this story is to pay attention to the people around you. Notice your customers, try to get to know them, try to learn and remember their names. Take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves to you.

My sister is now a sworn groupie for McBuns’ squares, my husband is still talking about the warm reception we received and I, aside from this editorial, have decided I will most definitely write a story about the business.
Because of an observant production manager and a decision to grab an opportunity presented to him, Bob Caron and McBuns Bakery have earned at least one full-time customer (and a couple of occasional ones), an editorial, and an eventual magazine profile. Who knows where that might lead?

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